Lack of sleep may increase your asthma risk, says a new study published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research. While prior research has revealed that asthma can cause sleep problems, the researchers in this study wanted to determine whether the reverse was true. They looked at over 450,000 people between the ages of 38 to 73 over the course of four years to investigate the connection between sleep and asthma. Of the 18,000 people diagnosed with asthma after ten years, those who had poor sleep quality and quantity and a genetic predisposition to asthma were twice as likely to develop the condition. Healthy sleep patterns were shown to be associated with a lower Asthma Risk no matter the genetic susceptibility.
While people may not know their genetic score for asthma, the study suggests that keeping track of potential triggers and exacerbating factors, such as sleep, can help individuals achieve optimal control over their asthma. This finding also highlights the importance of health professionals monitoring and treating sleep conditions to potentially mitigate the development of asthma. By improving bad sleeping habits, the research indicates that 19% of asthma cases could be prevented.
The study also suggests that poor sleep hygiene can cause chronic inflammation, which may be behind the relationship between sleep and asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, and previous studies have indicated that sleep issues are associated with chronic inflammation. Sleep disorders can also lead to chronic activation of the stress response, which can contribute to Asthma Risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night, but one in three Americans suffer from a sleep deficit. The CDC also suggests maintaining consistent sleep habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, keeping the bedroom cool and dark, avoiding electronics before bed, avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol too close to bedtime, and getting regular exercise. If these changes do not improve sleep quality, experts recommend seeking medical attention.
Critical Role of Sleep
This study emphasizes the critical role sleep plays in maintaining overall health and highlights the need for health professionals to monitor their patients’ sleep habits as a part of their asthma treatment. By improving sleep hygiene, individuals can potentially lower their Asthma Risk and improve their overall health.