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Teens who go to bed late and sleep late are nearly three times more likely to have asthma, experts find

Teens who go to bed late and sleep late are nearly three times more likely to have asthma, experts find

  • Scientists found that a longer bedtime could reduce the risk of asthma in young people
  • Those who went to bed late were almost three times more likely to have asthma
  • The researchers at the University of Alberta studied nearly 1,700 teenagers

Convincing your teenage child to go to bed at a sensible hour can be a thankless task.

But it may be worth continuing to nag, as scientists have found that a stricter bedtime can reduce the risk of asthma in young people.

Those who went to bed late and got up late were nearly three times more likely or more likely to have asthma, according to a study.

Young teens who went to bed late and got up late were almost three times more likely or more likely to have asthma, according to a study by the University of Alberta (file photo)

Young teens who went to bed late and got up late were almost three times more likely or more likely to have asthma, according to a study by the University of Alberta (file photo)

People with asthma have ‘sensitive’ airways and their immune systems are believed to overreact to triggers such as dust, pollution and exercise. Their airway swells and narrows, causing them to gasp.

This is more likely in teens who sleep late because they disrupt their body clock, which some experts believe has a knock-on effect on their lungs’ immune function.

Teenagers who spend long evenings bent over smartphones and tablets can make this worse, as the blue light from the devices further changes their body’s ability to distinguish night from day.

Researchers studied nearly 1,700 teens, nearly one in ten of whom were self-proclaimed ‘night owls’. This was compared to ‘larks’ who got up and went to bed early.

These night owls were almost three times more likely to have allergic symptoms with a similar cause to asthma, such as sneezing and a runny nose.

People with asthma have 'sensitive' airways and their immune systems are believed to overreact to triggers such as dust, pollution and exercise (file photo)

People with asthma have 'sensitive' airways and their immune systems are believed to overreact to triggers such as dust, pollution and exercise (file photo)

People with asthma have ‘sensitive’ airways and their immune systems are believed to overreact to triggers such as dust, pollution and exercise (file photo)

Dr Subhabrata Moitra, senior author of the University of Alberta study in Canada, said, “Teenagers are not night owls by nature, no matter what they think. But our results suggest that there is a link between the time they prefer to sleep and asthma and allergies.

“So the advice to parents, based on these findings, could be to make sure their young teens go to bed between 9:30 am and 10:30 pm and put their electronic devices down two hours before.”

The study recruited teens ages 13 and 14 and asked them what time they felt tired in the evening, ranging from before 9pm to after 2am.

Other questions included what time they felt best and how tired they were in the morning.

It found that 9 percent of teens identified as night owls were 42 percent larks and the rest fell somewhere in between, according to the study published in the journal ERJ Open Research.

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