How Does Air Pollution Worsen Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
It is that time of the year in India, especially in the northern region, when air pollution starts kicking in around Diwali time. Of course, air pollution impacts everyone’s health worldwide, but it can also affect something much closer to your home: your sleep.
You must be thinking about the direct link; the research shows that sleep apnea can be associated with chronic exposure to air pollution.
Not only your sleep, but it can impact your mood also. Below, you will find more about this link, its implications for indoor air quality in your home, and what you can do to reduce your exposure.
The link between good night’s sleep and air pollution
In recent research published by Annals of the American Thoracic society, there is a link between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and two common air pollutants—a type of fine particle pollution known as PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide.
The study found out that people who live in areas with higher amounts of these two types of pollutants were more prone to obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder in which a person experiences episodes of stopped breathing while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of its common types. It occurs when the throat is closed due to the blockage in the airways.
Inhaling these pollutants can irritate your upper airway and swell, resulting in restricted breathing leading to obstructive sleep apnea.
Moreover, inhaling polluted air might also impact your central nervous system controlling your breathing and sleeping patterns. This can cause sudden breaks in breathing while you’re sleeping, also worsening the symptoms.
How pollution affects airways?
Many factors could be the reason behind sleep apnea. These factors should be considered during research also—noise and light, pollution, sleep hygiene, stressors, and shape of the airway.
Air pollution can cause congestion in your upper airways. However, other factors, including pollen, mold spores, and dust, can also cause allergies to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. These factors may vary with the season.
If pollution damages the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, it can also contribute to sleep apnea. Some studies have found a link between nasal congestion and sleep apnea.
Different research models have found air pollutants can cause upper airway swelling and irritation. This swelling can worsen sleep apnea and its severity.
Let us know about its effects on emotions also.
The emotional effect of air pollution
Air pollution might even affect your mood. Researchers write that the effect of air pollution on mood may be partly due to direct physical effects and the stress of trying to avoid air pollution.
Five ways to reduce exposure to pollutants
There are several ways to reduce exposure to allergens and other pollutants in your bedroom, along with the tips to reduce exposure to outdoor air pollution.
Reduce your outdoor exposure
Check local air quality reports and plan your activities, especially when air pollution is severe.
Vacuum and dust often
Allergens and particulate matter often hide in the dust, making it easy for them to settle into your home. One effective solution is to use a HEPA vacuum and a microfiber dust rag every week to manage dust levels in your bedroom.
Close bedroom windows
Use your air conditioning system instead of opening windows if you have allergies or you live near freeways/areas of high traffic pollution. Pollen and damaging outdoor particulate matter can drift inside your home easily, so it is best to limit the exposure in the area where you sleep.
Change HVAC filters on time
When you do not change your filters on time, it can cause the air system to become less effective in protecting your air quality. Therefore, it is best to change your filter every 30 days.
Get yourself tested
You should get tested to know more about your sleeping health. You can book a home sleep test, and you’ll receive detailed information about sleeping conditions, including the presence of any sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, snoring, etc.