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According to a study, poor sleep quality and quantity could increase your risk of developing asthma.
While previous research has shown that asthma can lead to sleep problems, researchers wanted to see if it worked the other direction. The study was published in BMJ Open Respiratory Science on Monday.
"We've known for a long time that asthma and sleep are linked, but the majority of research has been focused on the presence of sleep apnea," said Dr. Amal Assa'ad (associate director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center). She was not part of the most recent study.
Researchers examined the data from a cohort that included more than 450,000 individuals in the UK Biobank. This large biomedical database is a research resource and a long-term monitoring tool for residents. According to the report, the age range of the people examined was between 38 and 73 years.
The study found that nearly 18,000 people were diagnosed with asthma after a 10-year period. Analysing the data revealed that people with poor sleep habits and a genetic predisposition were twice as likely develop asthma than those in a low risk group.
She was not part of the research.
The good news is that healthy sleep patterns are associated with lower asthma risk, regardless of genetic susceptibility.
The authors concluded that people with high-risk genes and good sleeping habits had a slightly lower chance of developing asthma than those with low genetic risk and poor sleep patterns.
The study authors suggested that health professionals could also help prevent the development of asthma by monitoring and treating sleep conditions. According to the research, improving sleep habits could prevent 19% of asthma cases.
Mora said that this finding highlights the need for nurses and doctors to talk with patients suffering from asthma about their sleeping habits in order to determine if they are experiencing worsening symptoms.
Everyone benefits from better sleep
Assa'ad stated that understanding the interplay of genetics and behavior is key to understanding this study.
She explained that the researchers considered all genetic changes that could increase someone's risk of developing asthma. These markers are combined with the genetic risk make up a person's "polygenic risk score".
Assa'ad stated that most people don’t know their genetic score or how likely they are to develop asthma. Instead, they only know how severe their symptoms are.
Mora stated that people can track their triggers and exacerbating factors, of which sleep appears to be one, to have optimal control over asthma.
She added that the results could be a reminder of how important it is to have good sleep hygiene, no matter what your asthma genetics.
According to the study, inflammation may explain why sleeping is so important for managing and preventing asthma.
According to the study, asthma is generally a chronic inflammatory condition. Research has previously shown that chronic inflammation is associated with insomnia and sleep duration problems.
The study found that sleep disorders can also be associated with chronic activation and stress response. These parts are crucial in the development asthma.
Good sleep hygiene
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need seven hours sleep per night.
Many people don't realize that this is possible. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans has a sleep problem.
However, it is not only quantity that matters. Quality is also important.
According to the CDC, signs of poor sleep quality include feeling tired even after getting enough sleep, waking up frequently during the night and having symptoms such as snoring, gasping for air, or snoring.
This is where good sleep hygiene or habits come in to play.
According to the CDC, it is important to go to bed and wake up at the exact same time every night. Keep your bedroom dark and comfortable.
According to a 2021 CNN story, a comfortable room is one that is cool. It can be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 20 to 20 degrees Celsius).
It's not just for children who need to take a bath before going to bed. A routine that involves familiar activities can signal to all ages to sleep. This is what pediatric sleep expert Ariel Williamson from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told CNN earlier this month.
For better sleep, avoid eating large meals and drinking caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.
Experts say that if none of these changes make a difference to your sleep, you may need to visit a doctor.