How Important is Your Sleep? ……zzzzzz

Sleep and allergy….I never would have known the connection.  Sleep is important for all persons in promoting physical and mental health.  High-quality sleep is crucial for learning and effective development in children.  Believe me, when I don’t sleep well, I become a scrooge or a troll and usually somewhere in-between.  Just ask my wife if you don’t believe me.  Looks like that happened to Shaq as well.

So what’s the big deal about not enough sleep?

  1. Deprivation in sleep can alter immune function in healthy subjects
  2. Sleep deprivation alters wound healing in animal models
  3. Sleep works because adequate amounts of sleep enhance the secretion of melatonin which in turn improves the immune response. 
  4. Sleep also enhances the secretion of growth hormone, which promotes wound healing. 

So now that you know WHY sleep is important, is sleep deprivation really that important?  According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, sleep disturbance is very important as an indicator of poor control of allergy and has relevance for a patient’s daytime functioning and overall quality of life. 

Treating your allergies and sinus congestion will most likely improve sleep-disordered breathing events, including apnea, hypopnea, and snoring.  The most recent summary of Sleep and Allergic disease can be found here—Sleep and allergic disease: A summary of the literature and future directions for research.  Here’s the abstract for your review:

 Atopic diseases, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, are

common conditions that can influence sleep and subsequent

daytime functioning. Children and patients with allergic

conditions from ethnic minority groups might be particularly

vulnerable to poor sleep and compromised daytime functioning

because of the prevalence of these illnesses in these groups and

the high level of morbidity. Research over the past 10 years has

shed light on the pathophysiologic mechanisms (eg,

inflammatory mediators) involved in many atopic diseases that

can underlie sleep disruptions as a consequence of the presence

of nocturnal symptoms. Associations between nocturnal

symptoms and sleep and poorer quality of life as a result of

missed sleep have been demonstrated across studies. Patients

with severe illness and poor control appear to bear the most

burden in terms of sleep impairment. Sleep-disordered

breathing is also more common in patients with allergic

diseases. Upper and lower airway resistance can increase the

risk for sleep-disordered breathing events. In patients with

allergic rhinitis, nasal congestion is a risk factor for apnea and

snoring. Finally, consistent and appropriate use of medications

can minimize nocturnal asthma or allergic symptoms that might

disrupt sleep. Despite these advances, there is much room for

improvement in this area. A summary of the sleep and allergic

disease literature is reviewed, with methodological, conceptual,

and clinical suggestions presented for future research. (J Allergy

Clin Immunol 2012;130:1275-81.)

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