Insomnia

Feb 2: Sleepless nights can bring on asthma in adulthood – more than trebling the risk among chronic insomniacs, according to new research.

And those who struggle to nod off most nights are more than twice as likely to develop the potentially fatal lung condition.

The risk rises by two-thirds among those who regularly have difficulty falling asleep, according to the study of almost 18,000 adults.

Insomnia is on the rise in the UK with up to half of Britons enduring it at some time – making them among the most sleep deprived people in the world.

A key finding in our study is that those people with chronic insomnia had more than three times the risk of developing asthma, compared to those without chronic insomnia, which suggests that any changes in the body due to insomnia may accumulate and result in more severe harmful effects on the airways.

Asthma affects about 300 million people worldwide with major risk factors including smoking, obesity and air pollution.

More recently, symptoms of depression and anxiety have been associated with a risk of developing asthma in adulthood.

Insomnia, defined as having difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep, or having poor sleep quality, is common among asthma patients, but whether insomnia patients have a higher risk of developing asthma at a later stage has not been thoroughly investigated.

People who reported to have poor quality sleep more than once a week, have the risk of developing asthma increased by 94 per cent.

Those who had reported one or more insomnia symptoms at the start and 10 years earlier – they had more than three times the risk of developing asthma.

As insomnia is a manageable condition, an increased focus on the adverse health effects of insomnia could be helpful in the prevention of asthma.

Asthma has been linked with increasing the risk of developing a range of life-threatening illnesses including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. AGENCIES

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