The impact of asthma on sleep
Asthma can affect sleep in several ways. The symptoms of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing, can disrupt sleep and make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. In addition, the use of asthma medications, such as inhalers, can cause side effects such as dry mouth or throat, which can also disrupt sleep.
Sleep apnoea, a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, is also more common in people with asthma. Sleep apnoea can lead to snoring, frequent awakenings, and daytime fatigue, all of which can disrupt sleep and lead to poor sleep quality.
The relationship between sleep and asthma is complex and bidirectional. Poor sleep can exacerbate asthma symptoms, while asthma symptoms can also disrupt sleep. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which poor sleep leads to worse asthma symptoms, which in turn disrupt sleep even further.
Strategies for improving sleep quality:
There are several strategies that can help improve sleep quality in people with asthma:
- Manage asthma symptoms: Working with a healthcare provider to properly manage and control asthma symptoms is essential for improving sleep quality. This may involve taking medications as prescribed, avoiding triggers that can worsen asthma symptoms, and using an inhaler before bed to help prevent nighttime symptoms.
- Practice good sleep hygiene: Good sleep hygiene habits, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding screens before bed, can help improve sleep quality for people with asthma.
- Consider a humidifier: Dry air can irritate the airways and worsen asthma symptoms, so using a humidifier in the bedroom can help improve sleep quality.
- Treat sleep apnoea: If you have sleep apnoea in addition to asthma, it is important to work with a healthcare provider to identify and treat the underlying cause of the sleep apnoea. This may involve using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or other treatment options. (We recommend our sister company www.breathingandmedical.co.nz for sleep apnoea treatment!)
- Seek support: If you are struggling with sleep due to asthma, seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can be helpful. It can also be helpful to join a support group for people with asthma, where you can share your experiences and learn from others.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can worsen asthma symptoms and disrupt sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
- Use white noise: Background noise, such as the sound of a fan or white noise machine, can help mask disruptive sounds and create a sense of calm, which can improve sleep quality.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep and should be avoided in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Asthma can have a significant impact on sleep quality, and poor sleep can exacerbate asthma symptoms. By properly managing asthma symptoms (RespiTrak helps here), practicing good sleep hygiene, and seeking treatment for sleep apnoea, it is possible to improve sleep quality in people with asthma. Working with a healthcare provider is key to finding the best strategies for managing asthma and improving sleep quality.