Sleep is a fundamental biological process essential for maintaining overall health, including making the respiratory system function well. The lungs are the main organs used for breathing. Sleep problems impact our breathing patterns because they modify gas exchange and ventilation.
Learn how the quality of your sleep may impact your lung health in this blog. It will also uncover some steps to take if you have breathing or sleeping problems.
Insufficient Sleep Reduces Lung Function
A study showed a direct connection between sleep and lung health, revealing that lung conditions can both impair sleep quality and cause respiratory diseases.
The study’s findings are as follows:
- Respiratory failure, bronchial reactivity, and mucus retention are all directly influenced by sleep.
- The rib cage is restricted while you’re in REM sleep.
A pulmonologist must evaluate sleep studies in patients with respiratory issues. Patients with non-respiratory medical diseases should also undertake a sleep study to uncover any underlying respiratory weakness, especially those at risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Breathing Changes Caused by Sleeping Problems
During sleep, breathing patterns may alter, becoming more irregular and shallow due to decreased brain activity. The sleep and wake cycle intensifies the transition from non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Breathing becomes less frequent during REM sleep and can become more challenging at night because breathing difficulties can lower lung activity. A sleep cycle known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is characterised by, as the name implies, rapid eye movement. It symbolises the relaxed, dreamlike condition of the body. The heart and respiratory systems become unstable during this stage of sleep. An obstruction to breathing may cause abrupt arousal to take in more oxygen.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Hampers Breathing
About 1 in 4 men in Australia have obstructive sleep apnea, significantly affecting overweight or obese people and adult men 40 years of age or older. During sleep, breathing may have repetitive stops for up to ten seconds. In severe cases, breathing may stop hundreds of times in a single night.
Hypertension can be brought on by obstructive sleep apnea, which raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. More severe obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart attack, coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure.
Snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, although not everyone who snores has the condition. It is probably an indication of obstructive sleep apnea when it is followed by breathing pauses and gasping or choking noises. Additionally, exhaustion or daytime sleepiness might result from sleep apnea.
The following are some of the most common sleep apnea symptoms:
- Snoring loudly or frequently.
- Sounds of choking or gasping
- Breathing stops silently
- Sleepless nights
- Daily headaches
- Nocturia (increased night-time urination)
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty paying attention
- Reduced sexual desire
Lack of Sleep Worsens COPD
For those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to perform the next day properly, the respiratory muscles need to be rested. These individuals must, therefore, receive a decent night’s sleep. The issue is that falling asleep is challenging while you’re coughing, in discomfort, or having trouble breathing.
Check out these strategies to help you sleep better if you have COPD:
- Change your sleeping position: To lessen the likelihood of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux, which frequently wakes you up at night, elevate your head a little higher than the rest of your body.
- Exercise and get moving: Exercise can help with COPD. You can expect better sleep at night if you move more throughout the day.
- Oxygen Therapy: Your pulmonologist may advise oxygen therapy to help you prevent breathing issues at night, improving your sleep quality.
Tips to Improve Sleep to Support Respiratory System and Lung Health
Put the electronics away.
Put away electronics like tablets, computers, and cell phones during the night to reduce the amount of light they create, which might disturb and keep you awake.
Set a Sleep Schedule
You can synchronise your body’s response to the sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm by getting up, going to bed, and sleeping simultaneously each day.
Avoid napping during the day
To sleep well at night, you should avoid napping during the day. If you have to nap, limit it to 20 minutes at most.
Get a New Mattress
Do you recall when you last purchased your mattress? If you cannot, there is a high chance it might need to be changed because it could be why you’re having trouble falling asleep. Back discomfort and uncomfortable sleeping conditions may be brought on by sagging and worn-out mattresses.
Music calming to the body and mind is especially beneficial for people with trouble sleeping. Try downloading and listening to your favourite relaxing or classical music before bed and when you get up early in the morning for the best benefits. Doing this can lessen your stress and worry, as well as your tension and perception of pain. With music therapy, you may also practice meditation and breathing exercises.
A message from the Heartscope Specialist Group
Breathing patterns, respiratory system and general lung health can be impacted by sleep quality. Obstructive sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory issues can significantly alter breathing patterns. On the other hand, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel sleepy the next day, making you less active or immobile, which can harm your lungs.
You can schedule a consultation for sleep and respiratory system issues by contacting the Heartscope Specialist Group, or you can do it online, and we’ll get in touch with you. Our primary concern continues to be your health and well-being!