Poor Sleep Quality Is Associated with Altered Taste Perception in Chinese Adults

Published:August 19, 2020DOI:



      Small clinical studies have suggested that individuals with insufficient sleep could experience taste dysfunction. However, this notion has not been examined in a large-scale, population-based study.


      This study aimed to examine whether overall sleep quality, as assessed by insomnia, daytime sleepiness, snoring, and sleep duration, was associated with the odds of having altered taste perception in a large population-based study.


      This was a cross-sectional study that used data from a subcohort of the Kailuan study, an ongoing multicenter cohort study that began in 2006 in Tangshan City, China.


      The participants were 11,030 adults aged 25 years or older (mean age 53.7 ± 10.7 years), who were free of neurodegenerative diseases. All the participants had undergone questionnaire assessments and medical examinations at Kailuan General Hospital from June 2012 to October 2013.

      Main outcome measures

      Altered taste and olfactory perception were assessed via a questionnaire with two questions regarding whether participants had any problems with sense of taste or smell for ≥3 months.

      Statistical analyses performed

      The association between sleep quality and altered taste/olfactory perception was examined using a logistic regression model, adjusting for age, sex, lifestyle factors (eg, obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity) and health status (eg, lipid profiles, blood pressure, modification use, and presence of chronic diseases).


      Poor overall sleep quality was associated with a higher risk of having altered taste perception (adjusted odds ratio for low vs high sleep quality 2.03, 95% CI 1.42 to 2.91; P < 0.001). Specifically, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and short sleep duration, but not prolonged sleep duration and snoring, were significantly associated with altered taste perception. A significant association between overall sleep quality and the risk of having altered olfactory perception was also observed (adjusted odds ratio for low vs high sleep quality 2.17, 95% CI 1.68 to 2.80; P < 0.001).


      In this population-based study, poor sleep quality was associated with a high likelihood of altered taste perception.


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      Y. Gao is an instructor, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


      J. Li is an instructor, Department of Nephrology, Kailuan General Hospital, Tangshan, China.


      L. Cui is associate professor, Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Kailuan General Hospital, Tangshan, China.


      R. Shu is associate professor, Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Kailuan General Hospital, Tangshan, China.


      S. Wu is a professor, Department of Cardiology, Kailuan General Hospital, Tangshan, China.


      F. Cheng is a nutrition researcher, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, IL.


      X. Gao is an associate professor and director, Nutritional Epidemiology Lab, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.