Sleep and asthma

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Abstract

Purpose of review

There is a longstanding recognition of the detrimental effect of poorly controlled asthma on sleep, but recent years have seen a growing interest in how asthma and sleep may interact. This review examines the current evidence of relationships between asthma, sleep and sleep disorders.

Recent findings

Poor quality sleep and sleep disturbance is highly prevalent in asthmatic patients, and particularly in those with severe asthma. Impaired sleep quality correlates with worse asthma control and quality of life. Sleep disturbance in asthma may be related to due circadian variation in airway inflammation, but may also be related to specific sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) appears to be significantly more common in asthmatic patients than nonasthmatic patients, and treatment of OSA with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may lead to improved asthma-specific quality of life. Nocturnal CPAP may also be of benefit to asthmatic patients without OSA, potentially because of stretching of airway smooth muscle. Insomnia is also highly prevalent in severe asthma patients, and is associated with a history of poor asthma control and increased healthcare utilization.

Summary

Asthma, sleep and sleep disorders appear to have complex, but significant relationships. Prospective observational and controlled interventional studies are needed to quantify how addressing sleep difficulties may benefit asthma patients.

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