In the JournalsPerspective

Short sleep duration may increase risk for asthma attacks

Patients with asthma who sleep 5 hours or less per night may be at an increased risk for asthma attacks compared with those who sleep 6 to 8 hours per night, according to research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

“Previous research revealed that poor sleep quality has a negative effect on asthma symptoms in adolescents,” Faith S. Luyster, PhD, assistant professor of health and community systems at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, said in a press release. “Our study shows that adults with asthma are equally affected by too little (or sometimes too much) sleep.”

In their cross-sectional study, Luyster and colleagues evaluated 1,389 participants in the 2007 to 2012 National Health Nutrition Examination Survey who had asthma. Of those participants, 25.9% reported sleeping 5 hours or less per night (short sleep), 65.9% reported sleeping 6 to 8 hours per night (normal sleep) and 8.2% reported sleeping 9 or more hours per night (long sleep).

The researchers also collected data on participants’ asthma symptoms and asthma attacks, any activity limitations stemming from asthma symptoms, health-related quality of life and health care utilization.

Reference: Luyster FS, et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2020;doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2020.04.035.

Compared to those with normal sleep, Luyster and colleagues found that participants who reported short sleep had a greater likelihood of experiencing an asthma attack (adjusted OR [aOR]= 1.58; 95% CI, 1.13-2.21), dry cough (aOR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.32-2.87) and an overnight stay in the hospital (aOR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.37-3.36) in the last 12 months.

Short sleepers were also significantly more likely than normal sleepers to report poor health-related quality of life — including more days of poor physical and mental health, and more inactive days attributed to poor health.

Luyster and colleagues found that long sleepers — compared to normal sleepers — were more likely to have limited activity due to wheezing (aOR = 1.82; 95% CI 1.13-2.91).

“This study adds solid evidence to the practice of asthma patients discussing sleep issues with their allergist to help determine if they need to change their asthma plan to achieve adequate sleep as a component of overall good asthma management,” Gailen D. Marshall, MD, PhD, editor-in-chief of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a press release. “It also warns that consequences can be expected when sleep patterns are chronically inadequate.” – by Erin Michael

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

Patients with asthma who sleep 5 hours or less per night may be at an increased risk for asthma attacks compared with those who sleep 6 to 8 hours per night, according to research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

“Previous research revealed that poor sleep quality has a negative effect on asthma symptoms in adolescents,” Faith S. Luyster, PhD, assistant professor of health and community systems at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, said in a press release. “Our study shows that adults with asthma are equally affected by too little (or sometimes too much) sleep.”

In their cross-sectional study, Luyster and colleagues evaluated 1,389 participants in the 2007 to 2012 National Health Nutrition Examination Survey who had asthma. Of those participants, 25.9% reported sleeping 5 hours or less per night (short sleep), 65.9% reported sleeping 6 to 8 hours per night (normal sleep) and 8.2% reported sleeping 9 or more hours per night (long sleep).

The researchers also collected data on participants’ asthma symptoms and asthma attacks, any activity limitations stemming from asthma symptoms, health-related quality of life and health care utilization.

Reference: Luyster FS, et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2020;doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2020.04.035.

Compared to those with normal sleep, Luyster and colleagues found that participants who reported short sleep had a greater likelihood of experiencing an asthma attack (adjusted OR [aOR]= 1.58; 95% CI, 1.13-2.21), dry cough (aOR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.32-2.87) and an overnight stay in the hospital (aOR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.37-3.36) in the last 12 months.

Short sleepers were also significantly more likely than normal sleepers to report poor health-related quality of life — including more days of poor physical and mental health, and more inactive days attributed to poor health.

Luyster and colleagues found that long sleepers — compared to normal sleepers — were more likely to have limited activity due to wheezing (aOR = 1.82; 95% CI 1.13-2.91).

“This study adds solid evidence to the practice of asthma patients discussing sleep issues with their allergist to help determine if they need to change their asthma plan to achieve adequate sleep as a component of overall good asthma management,” Gailen D. Marshall, MD, PhD, editor-in-chief of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a press release. “It also warns that consequences can be expected when sleep patterns are chronically inadequate.” – by Erin Michael

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective

     I think [the study] is really interesting. It confirms what we’ve known for years — that sleep and asthma have some connection. One of the five questions in our asthma control test questionnaire that we’ve been using for years is whether the patient has symptoms during sleep. The study shows the association, but it seems to be that it is still the chicken or the egg scenario: Is the asthma causing the sleep issues because it’s out of control? Or is the sleep causing worse asthma control? We still don’t have the answer to that. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as giving our asthmatics a sleeping pill to solve this problem — I think it’s deeper than that. We will need to find out why they’re not sleeping well and certainly, sleep has to be an area that’s questioned when physicians are taking a history, and the patients should proactively give this information to the physician when they come in for their visits.

    Our battle is trying to keep our asthmatics healthy and if one factor is they’re not sleeping well, we certainly need to look further into that.

    • Mark Corbett, MD
    • Vice President,
      American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
      Board certified allergist,
      Family Allergy & Asthma
      Louisville, Ky.

    Disclosures: Corbett reports no relevant financial disclosures.