Pollution could literally keep you awake

Extended exposition to high levels of atmospheric pollution could interfere with a good night of rest
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
24/05/2017
14:27
Madrid, Spain
Europa Press
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Extended exposition to high levels of atmospheric pollution could interfere with a good night of rest according to a new investigation presented by the 2017 edition of the American Thoracic Society Annual Congress taking place in Washington, United States, until next Wednesday.

According to Martha E. Billings, Medicine assistant professor of the Washington University, recent studies have shown that air pollution affects heart health, breathing and lung function, but less is known about whether air pollution affects sleep. It is thought that since air pollution causes irritation of the upper respiratory tract, swelling and congestion, it could also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep.

The studies also showed that people who were exposed to the highest levels of NO2 (traffic-related gas pollutants) for 5 years were nearly 60% more likely to have low sleep efficiency compared to people exposed to lower levels of NO2. The group with the highest exposures to PM2.5 (fine particle pollution) was nearly 50% more likely to have poor sleep efficacy.

These new findings indicate that the levels of air pollution commonly experienced not only cause lung and heart diseases, but also the quality of sleep. Better air quality can be a way to improve sleep quality and perhaps reduce disparities in health.

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