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Traffic pollution and noise may cause daytime sleepiness, nighttime snoring: study

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Sheffield, England – Do you sometimes feel like falling asleep at work? Traffic pollution and nighttime traffic noise may be to blame.

Researchers from National University Hospital of Iceland and the University of Bergen analyzed data of more than 12,000 adults from the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe (RHINE) study. About 1 out of 5 adult participants complained of daytime sleepiness, and 1 out of 4 reported that they were habitual snorers.

The researchers found that people who are exposed to increased levels of pollution have a 65 percent greater chance of suffering from daytime sleepiness. They also found that people were 46 percent more likely to experience daytime sleepiness and 29 percent were more likely to snore habitually if exposed to traffic noise in the bedroom while sleeping.

“The question of who snores may be a running joke in some households but for many snoring is a serious issue, with direct links to physical and mental well-being, and the same is true for daytime sleepiness,” Jorgen Vestbo, European Respiratory Society president and a professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester, said in a press release. “We want people to think more about the environment around them and the impact it can have – from the way they sleep to the air they breathe.”

The findings were presented in September at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in London.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, fatigue represents a workplace health and safety risk. Besides sleepiness, fatigue may lead to slower reaction times, poor mood and difficulty focusing.

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