- People with a high genetic asthma risk and poor sleep patterns were 122% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma.
- A healthy sleep pattern decreased the risk of asthma no matter the level of genetic risk.
- If sleep traits were improved, 19% of asthma cases could be prevented, according to the research.
Here's yet another reason to get a good night's sleep: It could significantly cut your risk of developing asthma, especially if you are already genetically susceptible to the disease.
People with a high genetic asthma risk and poor sleep patterns were 122% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than those with a low genetic risk and a healthy sleep pattern, according to a new study published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research.
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A healthy sleep pattern decreased the risk of asthma no matter the level of genetic risk, according to the study that used data on 455,405 people ages 38 to 73. During the 10 years of follow-up, 17,836 individuals were diagnosed with asthma.
Early detection and management of sleep disorders could be beneficial in reducing asthma cases, the researchers said.
About 26.5 million people in the U.S. have asthma, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Of those, 6.1 million are children.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to an allergen like pollen, by smoke or other irritants in the air or by extreme weather conditions. Extremely dry, wet or windy weather can worsen an asthma condition.
People with asthma often say they also have trouble sleeping. The researchers wanted to see if poor sleep could lead to asthma.
Asthma is considered a chronic inflammatory disease. Previous studies also have shown that sleep disorders are associated with chronic inflammation.
“In theory, the immune response to inflammation could generate pro-inflammatory cytokines that result in cellular infiltration and airway inflammation, further increasing the risk of asthma,” the researchers wrote.
If sleep traits were improved, 19% of asthma cases could be prevented, according to the research.
The study identified five healthy sleep behaviors: having an early chronotype or being an "early bird;" getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night; never or rare insomnia; no snoring; and no frequent daytime sleepiness.
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