Gamers, binge-watchers, and anyone who stays up to the wee hours of the morning, beware. A new study has revealed a link between sleep, asthma, and allergies in teens. Teenagers who stay up late at night and sleep late into the next day are more likely to develop asthma and allergies.
“Compared to the morning type, those who go to bed late have approximately three times higher risk of developing asthma,” said principal investigator Subhabrata Moitra, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alberta.
Late sleepers were also twice as likely to develop allergic rhinitis than those who slept early at night.
In the study, researchers questioned 1,684 adolescents in the Indian state of West Bengal about their sleeping habits and respiratory health. Questions included whether the teens had been diagnosed with asthma or experienced rhinitis symptoms like wheezing, runny nose, or coughing.
The Link Between Sleep, Asthma & Allergies
Of those that slept late, 23.6% reported having asthma. Only 6.2% of early risers reported asthma.
Researchers pointed out that while humans are naturally early risers, the presence of digital screens can lead to sleeping later. They believe those who sleep later at night experience some level of sleep deprivation or sleep interruption. Blue light from digital screens can disrupt the production and function of sleep hormone melatonin.
Not only do good melatonin cycles produce good nights of sleep, but they can also affect your immune system. Moitra explained to Eureka Alert that melatonin can cause alterations to immune systems, which are known to cause allergies and asthma.
Moitra advised that doctors should be asking patients more behavioral questions when diagnosing allergies and asthma, such as their eating habits or sleeping habits. These habits could be modified to help decrease symptoms.
He also cautioned those looking to regulate their sleep cycles with melatonin supplements. While they can help with sleeplessness, they are known to disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin.