Tips for Sleeping With Asthma
A good night’s sleep is more important than most people realize. It’s certainly nice to wake up with lots of energy, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg: seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night can also help ward off heart disease and diabetes and keep your stress hormone levels down. Sleep is also vital for a strong immune system, which is your natural defense against asthma triggers and the key to preventing dangerous attacks.
Any respiratory trouble will certainly make it more difficult to fall asleep, but your asthma can jeopardize your health even if your breathing is under control when you hit the hay. In fact, most deaths tied to asthma symptoms occur during the night.
There are a variety of factors that could raise your risk of nighttime complications, from allergens to hormonal patterns, and while you may not be able to eliminate all those dangers, you can control them more effectively. Once you know which conditions and behaviors may be increasing your symptoms during the night, you can change your bedtime routine in helpful ways to counteract the problems.
The Dangers of Breathless Nights
Asthma symptoms that come on at night will naturally interfere with your sleep, especially if you can’t get the chest tightness and breathlessness under control quickly. But consistently losing sleep can lead to a range of other sleep-related health problems that can, in turn, make your asthma symptoms worse.
In order to break the cycle, you need to appreciate the severity of the situation. When you suffer from asthma and poor sleep quality, you are far more prone to:
Nobody is at their best when they’ve slept poorly, but sufferers can experience extreme fatigue with asthma, making it near impossible to keep up with daily tasks. The problem is that asthma consistently restricts your breathing, and restricted breathing limits the amount of oxygen that gets to your muscles and organs in the first place. Add to this a sleepless night and you’ll get a double dose of exhaustion.
This condition is not limited to those with respiratory conditions, but it can be more common — and more serious — when you live with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for several seconds at a time, and though it may not send you into a full-blown asthma attack, it is known to increase your need for rescue inhalers and decrease your quality of life throughout the day. Uncontrolled sleep apnea can also lead to cardiovascular conditions and stroke.
There is an undeniable link between asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the acid reflux condition that results in regular, severe heartburn. Asthmatics are more prone to developing GERD and the uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms tend to worsen asthma symptoms.
GERD also tends to get worse at night, which means it can lead to troubling nighttime asthma, too. Some people live with GERD for quite a while without a diagnosis or proper treatment, and that can strain on the airways and lungs as stomach acid begins to interfere with your respiratory tract.