Skip to main content

Free Content Cold extremities and difficulties initiating sleep: evidence of co-morbidity from a random sample of a Swiss urban population

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


Difficulties initiating sleep (DIS) can frequently occur in psychiatric disorders but also in the general population. The primary vasospastic syndrome is a functional disorder of vascular regulation in otherwise healthy subjects complaining of thermal discomfort from cold extremities (TDCE). Laboratory studies have shown a close relationship between long sleep onset latency and increased distal vasoconstriction in healthy young subjects. Considering these findings, the aims of the Basel Survey were to assess the prevalence rates for DIS and TDCE and to determine whether both symptoms can be associated in the general population. In a random population sample of Basel-Stadt, 2800 subjects (age: 20–40 years) were requested to complete a questionnaire on sleep behavior and TDCE (response rate: 72.3% in women, n = 1001; 60.0% in men, n = 809). Values of DIS and TDCE were based on questionnaire-derived scores. In addition, TDCE was externally validated in a separate group of subjects (n = 256) by finger skin temperature measurements—high TDCE values were significantly associated with low finger skin temperature. A total of 31.1% of women and 6.9% of men complain of TDCE. In contrast, prevalence rates of DIS were only slightly higher in women in comparison to men (9.3% versus 6.7%, P < 0.1). Irrespective of gender, each seventh subject complaining of TDCE had concomitant DIS and the relative risk in these subjects was approximately doubled. Therefore, a thermophysiological approach to DIS may be relevant for its differential diagnosis and its treatment.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: cold hands and feet; difficulties initiating sleep; epidemiology; thermal discomfort; thermoregulation; vasospastic syndrome

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Thermophysiological Chronobiology, Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric University Clinics, Wilhelm Klein Strasse 27 2: University Eye Clinic, Mittlere Strasse 91 3: Institute of Social & Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Steinengraben 49, 4000 Basel, Switzerland

Publication date: 2008-12-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more