Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Reduced subjective sleep quality in people rating themselves as electro-hypersensitive: An observational study


Eicher, Corinne; Marty, Benjamin; Achermann, Peter; Huber, Reto; Landolt, Hans-Peter (2024). Reduced subjective sleep quality in people rating themselves as electro-hypersensitive: An observational study. Sleep Medicine, 113:165-171.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Disturbed sleep is among the most frequent health complaints of people exposed to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) used in mobile telecommunication, particularly in individuals who consider themselves as EMF hypersensitive (EHS). We aimed at investigating whether the EHS status per se is associated with sleep complaints. Because allelic variants of the gene encoding the L-type, voltage-gated calcium channel Ca$_{v}$1.2 (CACNA1C) were previously associated with sleep complaints reminiscent of those reported by EHS individuals, we also explored whether self-rated EHS status and sleep quality associate with these gene variants.
METHODS: A total of 2'040 participants (1'381 females) aged 18-30 years completed online, validated questionnaires on EMF sensitivity, subjective sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, mentation during sleep, and diurnal preference. They also provided a saliva sample for genotyping three functional variants of CACNA1C (rs7304986, rs16929277 and rs2302729). Eligible participants endorsing the question "Are you electro-hypersensitive?" were considered as "EHS" (n = 105), those denying this question yet believing to develop detrimental health symptoms due to prevailing electromagnetic pollution as "attributers" (n = 254), and the remaining participants as "non-EHS" (n = 1'406). We combined the EHS and attributers into one group for binary analyses. In exploratory analyses, we then tested possible associations between EMF sensitivity, subjective sleep variables and CACNA1C variants using linear and logistic regression. We used age, sex, level of education, presence of sleep disorders and habitual mobile phone use as covariates and corrected with Benjamini-Hochberg False Discovery Rate for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: The EHS/attributers consistently reported prolonged sleep latency, reduced sleep quality, higher sleepiness and more nocturnal mentation when compared to non-EHS. Habitual mobile phone use was not associated with self-rated sleep latency and sleep quality scores. While the T-allele of variant rs2302729 of CACNA1C was associated with both, self-reported EMF sensitivity and reduced subjective sleep quality, we found no evidence for the hypothesis that EHS mediates impaired sleep quality via this allelic variant.
CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of reported RF-EMF exposure, self-rated EHS/attributers rated subjective sleep quality worse than non-EHS individuals.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Swiss National Clinical Trials Portal (SNCTP000002285) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03074617).

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Disturbed sleep is among the most frequent health complaints of people exposed to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) used in mobile telecommunication, particularly in individuals who consider themselves as EMF hypersensitive (EHS). We aimed at investigating whether the EHS status per se is associated with sleep complaints. Because allelic variants of the gene encoding the L-type, voltage-gated calcium channel Ca$_{v}$1.2 (CACNA1C) were previously associated with sleep complaints reminiscent of those reported by EHS individuals, we also explored whether self-rated EHS status and sleep quality associate with these gene variants.
METHODS: A total of 2'040 participants (1'381 females) aged 18-30 years completed online, validated questionnaires on EMF sensitivity, subjective sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, mentation during sleep, and diurnal preference. They also provided a saliva sample for genotyping three functional variants of CACNA1C (rs7304986, rs16929277 and rs2302729). Eligible participants endorsing the question "Are you electro-hypersensitive?" were considered as "EHS" (n = 105), those denying this question yet believing to develop detrimental health symptoms due to prevailing electromagnetic pollution as "attributers" (n = 254), and the remaining participants as "non-EHS" (n = 1'406). We combined the EHS and attributers into one group for binary analyses. In exploratory analyses, we then tested possible associations between EMF sensitivity, subjective sleep variables and CACNA1C variants using linear and logistic regression. We used age, sex, level of education, presence of sleep disorders and habitual mobile phone use as covariates and corrected with Benjamini-Hochberg False Discovery Rate for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: The EHS/attributers consistently reported prolonged sleep latency, reduced sleep quality, higher sleepiness and more nocturnal mentation when compared to non-EHS. Habitual mobile phone use was not associated with self-rated sleep latency and sleep quality scores. While the T-allele of variant rs2302729 of CACNA1C was associated with both, self-reported EMF sensitivity and reduced subjective sleep quality, we found no evidence for the hypothesis that EHS mediates impaired sleep quality via this allelic variant.
CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of reported RF-EMF exposure, self-rated EHS/attributers rated subjective sleep quality worse than non-EHS individuals.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Swiss National Clinical Trials Portal (SNCTP000002285) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03074617).

Statistics

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 20 Dec 2023
2 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 January 2024
Deposited On:20 Dec 2023 12:47
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1389-9457
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2023.11.029
PubMed ID:38029625
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)