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How sleep affects the health of our lungs

They play an essential role in breathing, oxygenation and the elimination of carbon dioxide. Because they are essential, the lungs are therefore organs to be pampered. To keep them healthy, it is not enough to refrain from smoking. According to a recent study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the health of our lungs also depends on our sleep . Sleeping too long or too little would affect the respiratory organ.

Three times the risk

To reach such conclusions, researchers at the University of Manchester analyzed the genomic data of almost half a million people. They also took into account the various risk factors for pulmonary fibrosis, such as the body mass index, tobacco consumption, age and gender as well as the circadian rhythm. The results are unequivocal: people who sleep less than 4 hours or more than 11 hours per night are three times more likely to suffer from pulmonary fibrosis than others. Night work also appears to be a risk factor.

The influence of the circadian rhythm

According to the researchers, the health of the lungs depends on the circadian rhythm , this clock present in our brain and at the origin of many biological phenomena. This would explain the link between sleep duration and pulmonary fibrosis. “Pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating disease that is currently incurable. This is why discovering that the biological clock potentially plays a key role could open up new ways of treating and preventing the disease,” says Dr. John Blaikley, one of the study authors. The team of scientists wishes to deepen their research on the subject and hopes, ultimately, to reduce the impact of this disease.

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