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Should you be concerned if your teen a night owl?



Allergies and asthma more common in adolescents who stay up late

teens, asthma, sleep, electronics

Need a new reason to get on your kids for staying up late and, then sleeping too late in the a.m.? Science Times reported on a new study published that reveals that teenagers who tend to stay up all night, sleep in the early morning hours, and wake up later are more likely to develop asthma and allergies. The researchers of the study believe that their findings have implications on the importance of sleep timing for adolescents. Moreover, it also opens up a new avenue of research on how sleep affects teenagers' respiratory health.

According to Dr. Subhabrata Moitra, the study’s lead author from the University of Alberta's pulmonary medicine division, the prevalence of asthma and allergic conditions among children and adolescents is increasing worldwide. Known causes for the rise include exposure to pollution and tobacco smoke, but also teenagers’ sleep patterns.

Those studied were questioned about any wheezing, asthma, or symptoms of allergic rhinitis, like runny nose and sneezing. They were also asked a list of questions to help determine whether they were "evening types," "morning types" or in between, as well as specific questions such as what time of the evening or night they tend to feel tired, what time they would choose to wake up, and how tired they feel upon waking up.

The authors of the study compared the teenagers' symptoms with their sleep preferences and considered other factors that are known to affect asthma and allergies, like the location in which the kids live, and whether anyone in the household smokes.

READ MORE: What to do if technology is affecting your kids’ sleep

In their findings, they discovered that having asthma was around three times higher in adolescents who prefer to sleep later than those who slept earlier. Moreover, they also found the risk of suffering allergic rhinitis was twice as high in teenagers who slept late than early sleepers.

Dr. Moitra says that the study results suggest that melatonin, the sleep hormone, often becomes out of sync in late sleepers. He adds that the disruption in melatonin levels could be responsible for causing allergic responses in teenagers.

The researchers also add that exposure to the light from mobile phones, tablets, and other devices might have effects on children's and teenagers' sleep time. They suggest that encouraging them to put down their devices earlier would reduce the risk of asthma and allergies.




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