Teenagers Who Sleep Late And Wake Up Later In The Morning Have Higher Risk Of Developing Asthma

Results suggest there’s a link between preferred sleep time, and asthma and allergies in teenagers. Sleep hormone melatonin is often out of sync in late-sleepers and that could, in turn, be influencing teenagers allergic response

According to a study published in ERJ Open Research, teenagers who sleep late and wake up later in the morning have a much higher risk of developing asthma and allergies.

“Sleep and the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin are known to influence asthma, so we wanted to see if adolescents’ preference for staying up late or going to bed early could be involved in their asthma risk,” Dr Subhabrata Moitra from the University of Alberta, Canada — and the lead researcher of the study — told EurekAlert.

  • The study was conducted on 1,684 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 14 years in West Bengal.
  • The participants were told to report their sleeping habits and their respiratory symptoms.
  • Wheezing, sneezing or a runny nose were most common symptoms participants had reported.

The researchers took environmental factors into account while comparing these two sets of information, like a family member who smokes or proximity to factories or sources of air pollutants, to understand the link between sleep timings and respiratory issues.

Key Findings

  • Asthma risk was three times higher for teenagers who slept late than those who went to bed early.
  • Chances of developing allergic rhinitis was twice as high in those who slept late.

Dr Moitra adds: “Our results suggest there’s a link between preferred sleep time, and asthma and allergies in teenagers. We can’t be certain that staying up late is causing asthma, but we know that the sleep hormone melatonin is often out of sync in late-sleepers and that could, in turn, be influencing teenagers allergic response.

“We also know that children and young people are increasingly exposed to the light from mobile phone, tablets, and other devices, and staying up later at night. It could be that encouraging teenagers to put down their devices and get to bed a little earlier would help decrease the risk of asthma and allergies. That’s something that we need to study more.”

How to create proper sleep environments

Late sleeping practice is partially owing to teens being more exposed to the blue light from phones, tablets, laptops and other devices around bedtime.

While encouraging teenagers to keep these devices away well before bedtime is necessary, it’s important for adults, children and people of all age groups to create and maintain proper sleep environments to ensure neither sleep debt nor respiratory health issues become a problem in the future.

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