Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 3741–3748 | Cite as

Sleep quality in long-term survivors of head and neck cancer: preliminary findings

  • Na Li
  • Takafumi Otomaru
  • Hisashi Taniguchi
Original Article



This preliminary study evaluated sleep quality in long-term head and neck cancer survivors, using demographic data and clinical features of the cancers as assessment criteria. In addition, a possible correlation was examined between scores on self-rated questionnaires of sleep quality and assessments of quality of life and oral health status.


Subjects were 77 head and neck cancer survivors. Sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Oral and general health status was assessed using The Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) and the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), respectively, and correlated with clinical parameters. Spearman’s correlation coefficients were calculated to examine relationships between variables. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify independent variables associated with poor sleep quality.


Eighty-three percent of patients had poor sleep quality (global scores ≥5) and 40% had a global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score ≥8, indicating significantly poor sleep quality. Nocturnal enuresis, daytime sleepiness, and early morning awakening were the most common complaints. Extensive neck dissection, a lower SF-36 mental component score, and a higher OHIP-14 psychological disability score were independently associated with poor sleep quality. OHIP-14 global score was linked independently with daytime sleepiness.


This is the first study to demonstrate a high prevalence of poor sleep quality in long-term head and neck cancer survivors. Extensive neck dissection, poor mental health, and psychological disability may contribute to poor sleep quality. Maintaining good oral health-related quality of life could promote better sleep in these patients.


Sleep quality Head and neck cancer Long-term survivors 



We would like to thank the patients and their families for their participation in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

The experimental procedures were approved by the ethics committee of Tokyo Medical and Dental University (no. 1191). All subjects gave written informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Graduate SchoolTokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU)TokyoJapan

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