New research detailed that nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter in the environment have a detrimental effect on people's sleep patterns.


SANTIAGO.- Pollution doesn’t only produce respiratory diseases, but also might have influence in the sleep cycle of people that is exposed to diary bad air quality. This relation is shown in a recent study from the University of Washington that measured the sleeping patrons of nearly 2 thousand people.

Doctor Martha Billings, author of the investigation said that “previews researches showed that pollution affects cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, but there is no information of its relation to sleep cycles problem”, during her presentation at the International Conference of the Thoracic Society of America.

The study, which was made to 1,863 people in 6 cities of USA, measured the quality of sleep through a device that is located in the patient’s arm during six consecutive days in different years. Then, this information was crossed with data on pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM 2.5. “We think that a relation between contamination and bad sleeping is possible, since air pollution causes irritation of the upper respiratory tract, swelling and congestion, and can also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep ” said the expert.

In this study, they discovered that people who live in zones of high pollution suffer of a less-effective rest in they sleep time. “The group with the highest levels of NO2 had nearly 60% bigger chances of having sleep problems than those within the lowest levels of NO2” according to Billings

Those exposed to high levels of PM2.5 presented nearly 50% higher chances of having sleep problems, than the ones who live in less polluted zones.

According to the scientist “these results indicate that levels of air pollution commonly experienced not only affect heart and lung health, but also the quality of sleep, even with acute effects and not just in the long term”.

This result comes along with the first environmental pre-emergence decreed by the Metropolitan Intendancy due to environmental pollution present in the capital that forced the authorities to prohibit the circulation of catalytic vehicles with patented plates finished in 1 and 2.