Pediatric asthma is a common respiratory condition and while there are guidelines and treatments available, many people live with poorly controlled asthma and experience frequent symptoms. One reason for this is the existence of comorbid conditions in people with asthma – one of which is obstructive sleep disordered breathing.
Sleep disturbances are common in people with asthma and it’s possible that one may predict the other as people move from childhood through to adulthood. Researchers analysed the association between asthma, sleep quality and snoring in adolescents and young adults, and the extent to which the three factors predict one another in young adulthood.
Adolescents were assessed for asthma at age 14 years and again at age 21. They were also assessed for sleep quality, including daytime sleepiness and the presence of snoring at ages 14 and 21 years. Body mass index (BMI) was also recorded in the two groups.
Asthma was associated with reduced sleep quality in women. This association was not significant in men. Snoring in women at ages 14 and 21 years was associated with asthma and asthma severity – snoring and sleep disturbances each independently predicted asthma at 21 years.
This research supports the association between asthma and sleeping disturbances, suggesting that a sleep history may be an important component of asthma care, particularly in people with increased disease severity. Adequate sleep is needed in childhood to fuel the developing mind and increase productivity at school.
For children with asthma, it may be worth talking to a GP to see how you can improve sleep in addition to other asthma symptoms.