There are many well-known risk factors of snoring and sleep apnea. Obesity is one of them, and being a truck driver another.
But your TV habits? That’s something new.
However, a new study in The European Respiratory Journal does prove that specific TV habits do drastically increase your risk of snoring and sleep apnea. Try cutting this habit and see what happens.
Previous studies have demonstrated that sedentary behavior and a lack of physical activity may contribute to sleep apnea by causing obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance.
To investigate this further, a research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the University of Calgary conducted a large study.
They obtained information regarding 50,332 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (2002-2012), as well as 68,265 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1995-2013) and 19,320 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1996-2012). In other words, all of the subjects were medical professionals and were observed for at least 10 years.
These participants completed questionnaires every 2-4 years that included information about their television-watching hours, their time working, their time spent away from home, and their exercise habits. The information also included official diagnoses of sleep apnea.
This is what they found:
1. The most active participants (36 or more metabolic hours per week of physical activity) were 54% less likely to have sleep apnea than the least active participants (six or fewer metabolic hours per week of physical activity).
2. Participants who watched 28 hours or more of television per week were 71% more likely to have sleep apnea than those who watched four or fewer hours per week.
3. The participants with the least sedentary occupations were 49% less likely to have sleep apnea than those with the most sedentary occupations.
While it is understandable that sleep apnea sufferers may not want to be very active during the day because they are tired, they should remind themselves that they can break this cycle by simply forcing themselves to sit around a bit less, even if they start with gentle physical activity like walking.