Young girl looking at her smartphone in the dark | asthma risk
Representational image: teens who stay up late have higher risk of developing asthma and allergies

Teenagers who love to stay up late into the night and wake up late the next day, are more likely to develop asthma and allergies than their counterparts who rise early, according to new research.

The study found that those teens who preferred late nights were thrice as likely to suffer from asthma than those who went to bed early. What’s more, the researchers found that the late-sleepers also faced twice the risk of developing allergic rhinitis than those who habitually sleep early.

Importance of sleep timing among teens

Researchers say the study underscores the importance of sleep timing for teenagers while also opening up a new channel of research into the correlation between sleep timing and respiratory health of teens.

Conducted in West Bengal, 1684 adolescents participated in the study. 23.6 per cent of those who said they woke up late in the morning reported having asthma, compared with 6.2 per cent of the early risers. This was the first study to report on the possible association between sleep time and respiratory symptoms among adolescents.

WHO recognises asthma as one of the major noncommunicable diseases. According to one estimate, more than 339 million people had asthma globally in 2016. It is a common disease among children.

Artificial lights could be the culprit

The researchers believe that habitual late-sleepers are more exposed to artificial light at night, leading to melatonin suppression. Moreover, excess screen time due to overexposure to TVs, computers and smartphones also disrupts the production and function of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in response to darkness.

Keep away from screens, especially close to bedtime, the researchers recommend. If absolutely necessary, lower the screen brightness and use night-modes on your devices to filter out the blue/white light.


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