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Insomnia is more common among subjects living in damp buildings
  1. C Janson1,
  2. D Norbäck2,
  3. E Omenaas3,
  4. T Gislason4,
  5. L Nyström5,
  6. R Jõgi6,
  7. E Lindberg1,
  8. M Gunnbjörnsdottir1,
  9. E Norrman7,
  10. T Wentzel-Larsen3,
  11. C Svanes3,
  12. E J Jensen8,
  13. K Torén9,
  14. on behalf of the RHINE study group
  1. 1Department of Medical Sciences: Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Medical Sciences: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Thoracic Medicine and Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  4. 4Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
  5. 5Department of Clinical Medicine and Public Health, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  6. 6Foundation Tartu University Clinics, Lung Clinic, Tartu, Estonia
  7. 7Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, University Hospital of Northern Sweden, Umeå, Sweden
  8. 8Department of Respiratory Diseases, University Hospital of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
  9. 9Section of Occupational and Environmental medicine and Section of Allergology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C Janson
 Department of Medical Sciences: Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Akademiska sjukhuset, SE 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden;


Background: Insomnia is a condition with a high prevalence and a great impact on quality of life. Little is known about the relation between and sleep disturbances and the home environment.

Aim: To analyse the association between insomnia and building dampness.

Methods: In a cross-sectional, multicentre, population study, 16 190 subjects (mean age 40 years, 53% women) were studied from Reykjavik in Iceland, Bergen in Norway, Umeå, Uppsala, and Göteborg in Sweden, Aarhus in Denmark, and Tartu in Estonia. Symptoms related to insomnia were assessed by questionnaire.

Results: Subjects living in houses with reported signs of building dampness (n = 2873) had a higher prevalence of insomnia (29.4 v 23.6%; crude odds ratio 1.35, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.48). The association between insomnia and different indicators of building dampness was strongest for floor dampness: “bubbles or discoloration on plastic floor covering or discoloration of parquet floor” (crude odds ratio 1.96, 95% CI 1.66 to 2.32). The associations remained significant after adjusting for possible confounders such as sex, age, smoking history, housing, body mass index, and respiratory diseases. There was no significant difference between the centres in the association between insomnia and building dampness.

Conclusion: Insomnia is more common in subjects living in damp buildings. This indicates that avoiding dampness in building constructions and improving ventilation in homes may possibly have a positive effect on the quality of sleep.

  • building dampness
  • epidemiology
  • insomnia

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  • The RHINE study group includes the following participants: E J Jensen (Aarhus); A Gulsvik, B N Laerum, E Omenaas, C Svanes (Bergen); A-C Olin, K Torén, A Tunsäter, L Lillienberg (Göteborg); E Björnsson, T Gislason, D Gislason, T Blöndal, U S Björnsdottir, (Reykjavik); Rain Jõgi, Jana Talvik (Tartu), Bertil Forsberg, K A Franklin, B Lundbäck, E Norrman, M Söderberg, M-C Ledin (Umeå); G Boman, María Gunnbjörnsdottir, C Janson, E Lindberg, D Norbäck, G Wieslander, U Spetz-Nyström, K Stenudd Cashelunge, E Rydén (Uppsala)