The latest study results back up previous research by Danoff and other sleep experts at Johns Hopkins, which showed that 18 of 22 people with fibrosed lungs had problems breathing while asleep. The majority of them dropped out of R.E.M. sleep during the night, losing 25 percent of total R.E.M. sleep time.
It is during the R.E.M. period that rapid eye movements occur (hence the name), that people dream and that the body recovers from the previous day and builds up energy for the next.
Pulmonary fibrosis makes people highly vulnerable to sleep problems, Danoff says, because they often breathe twice as fast to supply the body with oxygen. And just as breathing and other body functions naturally slow down at the onset of R.E.M. sleep, these people who depend on a higher rate of breathing are constantly being pushed to wake up from a lack of oxygen.
"Essentially," she adds, "the body's internal alarms go off as people enter the most rejuvenating part of sleep. And when people don't get a good night's sleep, they cannot function normally the next day. It's a slippery slope that gets progressively worse over time."
Also in this latest Johns Hopkins study are survey results assessing quality of life and quality of sleep, which showed that people with stiffened lungs and sleep problems have 40 percent lower scores in physical activities compared to the general U.S. population. Rated activities included basic tasks, such as going to the mailbox and walking to the car. Mental and social activities, such as carrying on a conversation with a store clerk or telephoning friends and family, were reduced 48 percent.
Sleep quality was assessed on a scale comprising 36 different sleep measurements, such as the length of time it took to fall asleep and overall time spent sleeping.
Moreover, the team's analysis
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions