‘Night owls’ may be prone to asthma

July 07, 2020
Night owls
Young teenagers who went to bed late and got up late were almost three times more likely to have asthma, or to have suffered from it previously, study shows.

A NEW study showed that teens who go to bed late and sleep-in are more likely to have asthma.

Convincing your teenage child to go to sleep at a sensible hour can be a thankless task.

But it might be worth persisting with the nagging, as scientists have found that a stricter bedtime could reduce the risk of youngsters getting asthma.

Those who went to bed late and got up late were almost three times more likely to have asthma, or to have suffered from it previously, according to a study.

Scientists have people with asthma have 'sensitive' airways, and their immune system is believed to overreact to triggers like dust, pollution and exercise. Their airway swells and narrows, leaving them gasping for breath.

This may be more likely in late-sleeping teenagers because they disrupt their body clock, which some experts believe has a knock-on effect on the immune function of their lungs.

They said teenagers who spend long evening hours hunched over smartphones and tablets may make this worse, as the blue light from the devices further changes their body's ability to distinguish night from day.

Researchers studied almost 1,700 teenagers, with nearly one in ten being self-confessed “night owls”. That was compared to “larks” who got up and went to bed early. 

These night owls were almost three times more likely to suffer allergic symptoms with a similar cause to asthma, such as sneezing and a runny nose.

Based on these findings, parents were advised to make sure their young teenagers go to bed between 9.30 and 10.30 p.m. and put down their electronic devices two hours before that.

They added that there’s a link between lack of sleep and asthma and allergies. (University of Alberta)