Sleeping late may increase risk of asthma, allergies in teenagers, claims study conducted in India
Multiple studies have established that sleep is important to maintain good respiratory health, among other bodily functions.
You might clearly associate air pollution, tobacco smoke and dust or pollen with asthma and respiratory allergies. You might even suspect a cold, the flu or even COVID-19 as the cause behind your breathing difficulties right now. But did you ever think that particularly when you sleep, is has a huge impact on your respiratory health?
Sleep and breathing: Understanding the link
Multiple studies have established that sleep is important to maintain good respiratory health, among other bodily functions. After all, sleep is a normal biological function linked to the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and it also helps maintain body temperature. One study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2004, even established that the sleep hormone melatonin improves the condition of asthma patients by smoothing the muscles in the airway and reducing inflammation.
So, what exactly happens to your respiratory system when you sleep? A study in Lung India, published in 2009, explains this process. Even in a normal individual without any ailments, sleep impairs breathing because of an increase in carbon dioxide levels by 2-8 mmHg (millimetre of mercury). This impairment is completely normal and does not necessarily cause any harm. The muscles of the pharynx relax, and this increases the resistance in the upper airway -- hence, some of us snore. As the oxygen stores in the body deplete and muscles relax, the breathing pattern becomes mildly unstable, although still safe.
With people who have a sleep as per their circadian rhythm, these normal respiratory physiological responses do not lead to negative outcomes. The study shows that those who cannot maintain sleep according to circadian rhythms due to staying up late, sleep disorders, or even melatonin depletion due to other causes have an increased risk of suffering from respiratory failure, bronchial reactivity, mucous retention among other respiratory health issues.
How sleeping late affects teens’ respiratory health
Evidently then, sleep-related issues are clearly linked to respiratory health, and not just in adults. A new study in ERJ Open Research indicates that teenagers who sleep late and wake up later in the morning have a much higher risk of developing asthma and allergies. “Sleep and the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin are known to influence asthma, so we wanted to see if adolescents’ preference for staying up late or going to bed early could be involved in their asthma risk,” Dr Subhabrata Moitra from the University of Alberta, Canada — and the lead researcher of the study — told EurekAlert.
The study was conducted on 1,684 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 14 years in West Bengal. The participants were told to report their sleeping habits and their respiratory symptoms like wheezing, sneezing or a runny nose. The researchers took environmental factors into account while comparing these two sets of information, like a family member who smokes or proximity to factories or sources of air pollutants, to understand the link between sleep timings and respiratory issues.
They found that the asthma risk was three times higher for teenagers who slept late than those who went to bed early. The chances of developing allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, was twice as high in those who slept late. Moitra and his team also indicated that this late sleeping practice is partially owing to teens being more exposed to the blue light from phones, tablets, laptops and other devices around bedtime.
While encouraging teenagers to keep these devices away well before bedtime is necessary, it’s important for adults, children and people of all age groups to create and maintain proper sleep environments to ensure neither sleep debt nor respiratory health issues become a problem in the future.
For more information, read our article on How to fall asleep faster.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Human bodies respond to infections differently depending on the time of day
The reason for this is our body clock, and the fact that each cell in the body, including our immune cells, can tell what time of day it is.
Allergens in face masks, especially elastics, can cause contact dermatitis, case study shows
The study mentioned above, however, notes the possibility of getting severe contact dermatitis reactions from certain allergens present in masks currently being used across the world
Spices, green tea, fatty fish among key foods that help fight inflammation naturally in the body
Excessive inflammation and organ damage are also suggested to be one of the many reasons for death in COVID-19 patients.