Children who wake up twice or more times a week before age of three were twice as likely to go on to develop non-atopic asthma.
This is the finding of a retrospective longitudinal analysis of over 2,300 Australian children who were followed up regularly from birth to 14 years of age. Mothers completed questionnaires about preganancy, their child’s sleep patterns, lifestyle, home environment and health.
Leanne Metcalf, Assistant Director of Research at Asthma UK, said: “The UK has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world so this research could have significant implications for parents. It is important to note however, that the children in this study with broken sleep also tended to come from low-income families with a stressful home environment.
“The link between stress and asthma is well established, although the relationship is still not fully understood. Part of the link may be due to the effects of stress on the body’s immune system and we know that the workings of the immune system can also be affected by sleep”.