Air Pollution And Your Sleep
New research suggests that people with the highest exposure to two types of air pollution – one stemming from automobile traffic (NO2) and the other called fine-particle pollution (PM2.5) – are less likely to sleep well compared to those with lower exposure to pollution. Researchers from the University of Washington analyzed data from 1,863 adults previously enrolled in sleep and air pollution studies. Using measurements already gathered in 6 U.S. cities the researchers estimated air pollution exposures at each study participant’s home. To find out how well the participants slept, the team equipped them with wrist devices that measure small movements and can provide detailed estimates of sleep and wake patterns. They found that the 25 percent of the participants who had the highest exposure to pollution slept least. Over the course of 5 years, the researchers determined that participants exposed to the highest levels of NO2 had an almost 60 percent greater likelihood of experiencing poor sleep compared to those who had the least exposure to these pollutants, and that those with the highest exposure to small particulates were nearly 50 percent less likely to sleep well.
My take? These new findings add to earlier reports about the negative effects of air pollution, which is estimated to contribute to seven million early deaths worldwide from lung and heart disease and cancer. In the United States, dangerously high levels of pollution on the east coast and in the greater Los Angeles area are causing premature death, disability and disease. If you think air pollution is affecting your sleep or your health in general, you might consider using HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters to help clean the air in your home. These devices work by forcing air through screens containing microscopic pores, which remove all airborne particles above a very small size
Martha E. Billings et al, “Relationship of Air Pollution to Sleep Disruption: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Sleep and MESA-Air Studies.” Study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2017 International Conference, May 21, 2017, Washington, D.C.
Also in this week’s bulletin:
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