Restless nights, groggy mornings, lack of energy and mood swings? You could be sleep deprived. It can be be due to stress at work or home or uncomfortable sleeping position. One thing you wouldn’t put the blame on is air pollution. Yes, we all know that air pollution can lead to health conditions or diseases related to heart and lungs. Air pollution and sleep deprivation also have a connection!
In 2017, a study that was presented at the American Thoracic Society’s annual international conference in the US, revealed that exposure to nitrogen dioxide and airborne particles affected sleep efficiency.
HealthShots reached out to Dr Animesh Arya, a unit head and a senior consultant in respiratory medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi, to explore this connection between air pollution and poor sleep.
Dr Arya says that in children and adults, increased exposure to ambient and indoor pollutants is associated with sleep deprivation or sleep problems. He notes that air pollution exposure is most particularly related to sleep disordered breathing, with obstructive sleep apnea being its most common category. In this case, there is an obstruction in the airway that leads to continued breathing effort, but inadequate ventilation.
How can air quality in your house be improved so that you can sleep better?
Apart from poor sleep, air pollution may affect women’s health in shocking ways. Even though you can’t control the air pollution outside your home, you can do something about it indoors.
1. Natural ventilation
It is the easiest and most common way to improve indoor air quality. The expert says that you can go for natural ventilation by opening windows and doors. But there is a time to do so. To avoid suffocation, you should open windows for a few minutes during noon time. Avoid mornings and evenings as they are peak time for pollution in air. He says that it’s because of low wind movement, and so particles get trapped in the air.
2. Air cleaners
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners available in the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective for particle removal, others, including most table-top models, are much less effective. As for air purifiers, they are not generally designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
Stress and lack of sleep
If air pollution can affect your sleep, stress can also lead to sleep deprivation. Stress related to work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making your mind difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma, such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss, family issues also may cause lack of sleep (tips to reduce stress).
Tips to have a good night’s sleep
Air pollution can lead to depression and anxiety so, to sleep like a baby, you should do the following –
• Make a proper sleep schedule and stick to it. Your body needs just eight hours of sleep for proper functioning.
• Eat well and pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. Don’t go to bed hungry or after over-eating.
• Create a peaceful environment, and keep your room dark and quiet.
• Limit your daytime naps.
• Include physical activities like different types of exercises and walking in your daily routine.
• Manage your stress and worries.