A new study finds that, in addition to accounting for 10.5 million missed school days annually, asthma is also a leading contributor to missed sleep and illness in urban children. The findings, which appear in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, showed that lost sleep due to asthma was significantly related to frequent school absences, sports limitation, and increased emergency room visits, especially in Latino children.

According to the research, children in urban living environments are at increased risk for multiple stressors, such as poverty and neighborhood disadvantage, that can negatively affect asthma control.

Parents of 147 children aged 6 to 13 years took part in this study, which was conducted at the Bradley Hasbro Research Center of Brown Medical School. Parents reported their quality of life was considerably decreased when their child’s asthma was not well controlled. Children with high anxiety and general worries were also thought to have trouble returning to sleep after wakening from asthma symptoms, affecting the child’s daily activities.

"Children with asthma from urban backgrounds are at increased risk of disrupted sleep, which can greatly impact their daytime functioning,” said Lauren Daniel PhD, lead study author. “It is important for parents and healthcare providers to routinely monitor sleep in children with asthma to minimize sleep disruptions and ensure proper asthma control."

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology