The Grapevine

Snoring, Breathing Problems During Sleep May Make People Age Faster

Snoring may be one of the most annoying things to hear at night. It can be your father, brother, sister a friend during a night out or you yourself. But aside from the noise, there is another reason to try to avoid snoring. 

A new study, published in the journal Sleep, shows that sleep-disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea, could speed up aging. Snoring is among the common warning signs of this health problem. 

Sleep-disordered breathing occurs as abnormalities of respiration during sleep due to less blood oxygen saturation and brief arousals. In the U.S., nearly 30 million adults are estimated to have obstructive sleep apnea. 

The study shows that sleep-disordered breathing could make a person’s body 215 days older than its proper age. Sleep disruption was also associated to 321 days of age acceleration.

"People's biological age might not be the same as their chronological age," Xiaoyu Li, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement. "Our data provide biological evidence supporting adverse physiological and health effects of untreated sleep-disordered breathing."

Exploring Sleep Problems and Aging

For the study, the researchers analyzed the health of 622 adults. The team checked the participants’ blood DNA methylation and sleep. 

Results show that women tend to experience faster biological aging linked to sleep-disordered breathing than men. But the researchers suggested further study focused on this area is needed.

"While women are often considered to be at lower risk for health outcomes related to sleep-disordered breathing, our findings suggest increased biological susceptibility," Li said.

They also aim to conduct another research to determine if available treatments could help reduce epigenetic age acceleration.

To date, sleep-disordered breathing is commonly left undiagnosed and undertreated. But Li said understanding how sleep-disordered breathing affects age could lead to new anti-aging interventions and promote longevity.

The research team plans to present the findings on June 12 at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio.

Sleep Pictured: A man sleeping on a bench in broad daylight. Pixabay

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