Objective.—Sleep pattern at high altitude has been studied, mainly with the use of polysomnography. This study aimed to analyze subjective sleep quality at high altitude using the following standardized scales: the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS-8).
Methods.—Thirty-two members of 2 expeditions—28 males and 4 females (mean age 31 years)—participated in this study conducted in Nepal, Himalayas (Lobuche East, 6119 m above sea level [masl]), Kyrgyzstan, Pamirs (Lenin Peak, 7134 masl), and Poland (sea level). The scales were administered twice, at high altitude (mean altitude 4524 masl) and at sea level.
Results.—Both measures showed a decrease in sleep quality at high altitude (statistical significance, P < .001). Sleep problems affected general sleep quality and sleep induction. Sleep disturbances due to awakenings during the night, temperature-related discomfort, and breathing difficulties were reported. High altitude had no statistically significant effect on sleep duration or daytime dysfunction as measured by PSQI.
Conclusions.—The overall results of PSQI and AIS-8 confirm the data based on the climbers' subjective accounts and polysomnographic results reported in previous studies. The introduction of standardized methods of subjective sleep quality assessment might resolve the problem of being able to perform precise evaluations and research in the field of sleep disturbances at high altitude.