A good night’s sleep can prevent asthma, even for those at high risk

A good night’s sleep could help prevent asthma, even in people who are naturally at high risk for the disease, according to one study.

People who have a bad sleep rhythm and having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep are 55 percent more likely to be asthmatic, data shows.

About four percent of the people in the study were diagnosed with asthma.

Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, no snoring, no daytime naps, and no insomnia is considered a good sleep schedule.

Some individuals are genetically determined prone to risk of asthma and have a 47 percent increased risk of asthma.

Those who are both genetically more vulnerable and have poor sleep patterns are more than twice as likely to have asthma, data shows.

Data also shows that healthy sleep patterns reduced the risk of asthma by 44 percent in those with a low genetic risk, by 41 percent in those with an intermediate risk, and by 37 percent in those with a high genetic risk.

Genetic makeup was mapped

“These results showed that healthy sleep patterns could significantly reduce the risk of asthma in each genetic subgroup,” the researchers said.

A team from Shandong University in China used data from the UK Biobank study to examine 455,405 people aged 38 to 73.

Some 73,223 people met the criteria for a healthy sleep pattern, 284,267 an average sleep pattern and 97,915 a bad sleep pattern.

The genetic makeup of all participants in the study was mapped and a genetic asthma risk score was established. About a third of the study participants fell into the high, medium, and low risk categories.

In the decade of follow-up, 17,836 people were diagnosed with asthma, according to the study published in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research.

They were more likely to have poorer sleep patterns, obesity, a genetic risk of asthma, higher levels of smoking and drinking, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and greater exposure to air pollution.

The team concluded: “Unhealthy sleep patterns and sleep characteristics… were significantly associated with adult asthma risk.

“The combination of poor sleep patterns and high susceptibility can lead to an increased risk of asthma.

“Healthier sleep patterns may be helpful in asthma prevention, regardless of genetic conditions.”

Need more investment

The researchers said the study “highlights the importance of early detection and treatment of sleep disorders, which could be beneficial in reducing the incidence of asthma”.

The authors suggested that poor sleep could trigger an inflammatory response in the body that increased the risk of asthma.

Dr. Erika Kennington, Head of Research and Innovation at Asthma and Lung UK, said: “This research suggests there is a link between asthma and not getting enough sleep, although it is still too early to say that treating poor sleep will reduce one’s risk on the development of asthma.

“We still don’t know enough why only some people get asthma and other lung diseases and others don’t.

“To understand why lung disease develops in the first place, we need to invest more in respiratory research.

“Lung diseases are the third leading cause of death in the UK, but only two per cent of government funding is spent on research that will help diagnose, treat and treat them much more effectively.”

She added: “We are fighting for more funding for research and innovation that can transform and save the lives of millions of people in the UK and around the world.”