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Asthma takes a toll on sleep

Physicians describe asthma as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that may cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing.

Over 3 million Canadians have some degree of asthma – the severity and occurrence of symptoms varies from person to person. What we often don’t realize is how asthma and its symptoms can impact sleep. A recent study completed by Brown University looked at the impact of asthma on the sleep of children, and specifically how the missed sleep affected their daily lives.

The study involved 147 children aged 6-13 who suffered from asthma. Across the study, the researchers discovered that disrupted sleep due to asthma symptoms was related to frequent school absences, limitations on activity, and a lower quality of life. Sleep deprivation must be considered by physicians as part of the complications of asthma. As asthma symptoms often worsen at night, sleep quality can become seriously compromised. Dr. Lauren Daniel, lead author of the study, explains “It is important for parents and healthcare providers to routinely monitor sleep in children with asthma to minimize sleep disruptions and ensure proper asthma control.”