Sleep is extremely important for all aspects of health, but a new article reveals how sleep disruption can negatively impact adults with asthma. Published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the study showed how disturbed sleep can increase the risk of an asthma attack and other side effects of the condition.
Faith Luyster, Ph.D., lead author of the study spoke about the research, saying, “Previous research revealed that poor sleep quality has a negative effect on asthma symptoms in adolescents. Our study shows that adults with asthma are equally affected by too little (or sometimes too much) sleep. Compared to normal sleepers, short and long sleepers had a higher proportion of people who reported having an asthma attack in the past year (45 percent vs. 59 percent and 51 percent respectively) and had more days with impaired health-related quality of life. Impaired quality of life was characterized by more days of poor physical and mental health.”
Sleep Duration Study
For the study, researchers analyzed 1,389 adults who were 20 years and older and self-identified as having asthma. Of the study participants, 25.9 percent slept five hours or less, 65.9 percent slept six-to-eight hours and 8.2 percent slept nine or more hours. Researchers measured sleep duration with a single question, “How much sleep do you usually get at night on weekdays or workdays?”
Results showed that participants who got less sleep were more likely to be younger and non-white. They had a greater likelihood of an asthma attack, dry cough, or overnight hospitalization during the past year. They also had significantly worse health-related quality of life and more frequent general healthcare use compared to normal sleepers. These study participants also showed many days of poor physical health, mental health, and inactive days.
Participants who slept more were more likely to be older, female, and smokers. They showed some activity limitations due to wheezing when compared to normal sleepers, but no significant differences in other patient-reported outcomes and healthcare use were observed between the long and normal sleepers.
“Disturbed sleep in an asthma patient can be a red flag indicating their asthma isn’t well-controlled,” says allergist Gailen D. Marshall, MD, Ph.D., ACAAI member and Editor-in-Chief of Annals. “This study adds solid evidence to the practice of asthma patients discussing sleep issues with their allergist to help determine if they need to change their asthma plan to achieve adequate sleep as a component of overall good asthma management. It also warns that consequences can be expected when sleep patterns are chronically inadequate.”
This study helps to outline the importance of sleep for overall health, including for those who suffer from asthma. With stress levels on the rise because of the current COVID-19 situation, it is important to keep your sleep schedule as routine as possible. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time. With a good night’s rest, your body will function better, and you will also have better mental health.