Air pollution ruining our sleep study finds

A study has found that people living in areas of raised nitrogen dioxide were found to be 60 per cent more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation than those living in areas with less pollution.

The study, carried out by the University of Washington, involved 1,863 people and suggests that air pollution in the respiratory and nervous systems influences the quality of sleep.

Presented at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference, the study measured what impact nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter had on individuals.

Researchers gathered air quality across six cities to gauge levels of pollution at the homes of participants while using sleep monitoring devices to measure sleeping patterns and movements.

Other factors, such as age, body mass, previous sleeping issues, and smoking habits were also taken into account.

The readings were taken over a period of five years as participants were broken up into four groups based on their sleep efficiency.

The highest group had a sleep efficiency of 93 per cent or higher while the bottom had 88 per cent or less.

Those that happened to be in the bottom group were more likely to be exposed to air pollution.

High levels of nitrogen dioxide increased the chances of having low sleep efficiency by 60 per cent.

Martha Billings, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington said:

Prior studies have shown that air pollution impacts heart health and affects breathing and lung function, but less is known about whether air pollution affects sleep.

“We thought an effect was likely given that air pollution causes upper airway irritation, swelling and congestion, and may also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep.

“These new findings indicate the possibility that commonly experienced levels of air pollution not only affect heart and lung disease, but also sleep quality. Improving air quality may be one way to enhance sleep health and perhaps reduce health disparities.”

Researchers admitted that more needs to be done to explore the connections between sleep and pollution.

In the UK is linked to an estimated 40,000 early deaths a year.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *