Breathing difficulties at night?
Bad Indoor Air Quality Affects Sleep
Air pollution is linked with many conditions that affect sleep, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and sleep apnoea. Over time, these conditions can lead to heart disease and diabetes, and can even lead to heart attack and stroke.
If you’re having problems sleeping, it could be because of the air quality in and around your home.
In Jakarta, reports from nafas show that air quality is actually the worst at night. Data shows that Jakarta’s air quality begins to worsen around 5pm and is particularly bad between midnight and 5am. Our city’s air is generally the cleanest between midday and 5pm. However, this depends on our exact location, so make sure to check your local AQI for the latest accurate data.
To check your indoor air quality, purchase an indoor air quality monitor such as the aria AirTest. The aria AirTest measures PM2.5 pollution levels indoors, and will help you determine if air pollution is a problem in your home.
High Outdoor Air Pollution At Night Can Affect Sleep
Research shows that if levels of PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are high at night, we have less ‘sleep efficiency’. Sleep efficiency compares the amount of time we spend in bed with the amount of time asleep. If we live in an area with poor air quality, we are up to 60% more likely to experience low sleep efficiency. In other words, we spend more time awake in bed.1 In the long term, this can put us at higher risk of serious illness like heart disease and diabetes.
Sleep apnoea is another condition that can be caused by air pollution. Sleep apnoea is a condition in which the walls of our throats narrow, causing our airways to become blocked for 10 seconds or more. This makes us stop breathing and wakes us up. High levels of exposure to PM2.5 has been shown to increase the risk of sleep apnoea.2 Serious sleep apnoea can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Air Pollution At Night Can Impact Pre-Existing Conditions
Air pollution at night also makes some pre-existing health conditions worse, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide all contribute to these conditions, causing sufferers to cough and have difficulty breathing.
The good news is that there are steps we can take to improve indoor air quality at night. Reducing dust and mould, repairing gaps in walls, and using air purifiers can all help.
2Zanobetti, Antonella, Susan Redline, Joel Schwartz, Dennis Rosen, Sanjay Patel, George T. O'Connor, Michael Lebowitz, Brent A. Coull, and Diane R. Gold. 2010. ‘Associations of PM10 with Sleep and Sleep-disordered Breathing in Adults from Seven U.S. Urban Areas‘, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine: 182(6). https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200912-1797OC