A recent study conducted by scientists concluded that traffic-related air pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and fine particle pollutants (PM), can affect people’s sleep patterns.
Lead author Martha E Billings, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington stated, “The study indicates the possibility that commonly experienced levels of air pollution not only affect heart and lung disease but also sleep quality.”
People with the highest amounts of NO2 exposure over five years had a 60 percent increase in sleep disturbances than those with the lowest. People with the most PM exposure had a 50 percent increase in low sleep efficiency.
Billings specified, “The effect was likely given that air pollution causes upper airway irritation, swelling, and congestion, and may also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep,” and suggested, “Improving air quality may be one way to enhance sleep health and perhaps reduce health disparities.”
It may be difficult to combat NO2 that is present in outdoor air but you can decrease the amount you’re exposed to indoors by improving the air quality in your home.