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Air pollution could be affecting your sleep

Air pollution could be affecting how you sleep, according to new research.

With past research proving air pollution negatively impacts heart and lung health, researchers from the University of Washington hypothesised that the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep could also be affected.

The research included 1863 participants with the average age of 68 studied over one- and five-year periods, measuring “sleep efficiency”, an assessment of the percentage of time in bed spent asleep versus awake.

It was found that the group exposed to the highest levels of NO2 over five years had  a 60 per cent increased likelihood of low sleep efficiency compared to those exposed to the lowest levels of NO2.

The group with the highest exposures to small particulate matter (PM 2.5) had an almost 50 per cent increased likelihood of having low sleep efficiency.

Lead author Martha Billings, assistant professor of medicine, believes the findings show improving air quality may be one way to enhance sleep  and reduce health disparities and future studies could look at other contributing factors such as traffic noise.

The finding were presented at American Thoracic Society’s ATS 2017 Conference.

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