How Clean Air Improves Your Sleep

Insufficient sleep leaves us lethargic, tired, and irritable the next day. It’s harder to concentrate at work and complete your daily tasks. But why is sleep so important?

Five Reasons Why Sleep is Important

  1. Reduces Stress
  2. Improves Memory and Energy
  3. Reduces Risk of Depression
  4. Helps with Weight Loss
  5. Prevents Cancer and Other Illnesses

 Cleaner Air, Better Sleep

Using data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), researchers observed the correlation between quality of sleep and exposure to air pollution. They observed 1,863 individuals across six U.S. cities and focused on two primary measures of sleep: the total amount of time spent sleeping and the frequency of waking up after falling asleep. They compared these sleep metrics with concentrations of two main pollutants: nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), particles with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers.

Ultimately, they found an association between sleep quality and air pollution. If individuals were exposed to the highest levels of air pollution, there was a chance of approximately 60% or higher that they had a shorter total amount of sleep. On the other hand, the percentage of individuals with low total sleep time (defined in the study as failure to sleep for around 88% of the total time in bed) and higher instances of waking up once asleep, increased when air pollution concentrations increased.

The bottom line: cleaner air improves the quality of your sleep.

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 Read the complete study by Dr. Martha E. Billings to learn more.

Martha E. Billings, Diane R. Gold, Peter J. Leary, Adam Szpiro, Carrie P. Aaron, Joel D. Kaufman, and Susan S. Redline. “Relationship of Air Pollution to Sleep Disruption: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Sleep and MESA-Air Studies.” B20. BIG DATA COMES TO SLEEP MEDICINE. May 1, 2017, A2930-A2930.