BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recent study found that air pollution might influence how you sleep at night. It discovered that people who live in more polluted areas were 60 percent more likely to sleep badly. Besides making people more vulnerable to heart or lung disease, it seems that more pollutants in the air also affect the quality of sleep.
Researchers from the University of Washington collected data on 1,863 people. The average age of the participants was 68. Also, the main pollutants they analyzed were traffic-produced nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5, which produces fine particle pollution.
How does air pollution influence sleep?
They performed advanced measurements of the pollution levels in the air, studied the local environment, and analyzed several statistics to estimate how exposed the participants were to air pollutants. They measured the exposure levels both over a period of one year and of five years.
Besides the air pollution, they also measured the sleep efficiency of the participants. This method compares the time spent in bed while awake with the time spent sleeping. They performed these measurements by using wrist actigraphy. This means they recorded any small movements made by the participants and estimated how much time they spent sleeping. These recordings lasted for seven days.
Higher levels of pollutants linked to poor quality sleep
Then, participants were split into four groups, according to the levels of air pollution they had been exposed to. The group with high levels of NO2 was 60 percent more likely to suffer from poor sleep, as compared to the group with low NO2 levels. Also, the group with high rates of small particle pollution had a chance higher by 50 percent to sleep badly.
Therefore, researchers advise people who struggle with sleep problems to improve air quality. Apart from reducing disease risks, living in an environment with less pollutants can offer people a good night’s rest.
Image Source: Pexels