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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
'My wheezing kept me awake'
Jane Elliott
BBC News health reporter

Anthony Mayall
Anthony's asthma kept him awake
For years Anthony Mayall had broken sleep.

His wheezing and breathlessness kept him awake at night and he found his daytime concentration poor.

Anthony, aged 44, was diagnosed with chronic asthma at the age of three and missed a lot of school through ill-health.

But he said it was the night-time sleep deprivation, which caused him particular stress.


"My sleeping at night was not good. I would find myself coughing and being short of breath.

"And because you kept waking up you were dog-tired.

My sleeping at night was not good
Anthony Mayall

"Sometimes you know it is just going to be a matter of minutes before you are up again, or an hour at the most.

"You are fighting to get your breath and you just go all tense.

"And the lack of sleep has a knock-on effect on you at work."

Anthony, who works as a carpenter in Wiltshire said he has now changed his medication and can sleep through.

But many others might not be as lucky.

A study carried out at a sleep laboratory at the University of Surrey revealed that almost half of all asthmatics studied reported having six hours of sleep a night or less.


Study leader, Ian Hindmarch, professor of human psychopharmacology at the University of Surrey said: "The importance of a good night's sleep cannot be over-estimated.

"If, as a person with asthma, your sleep is disturbed by night time symptoms the knock-on effects on next day intellectual functioning and performance of the tasks of every day living can be quite devastating.

"An inability to concentrate while driving a car or at work, school or college - especially when having to take exams - can have serious consequences due to accidents and disruption of scholastic and academic goals.

Dr Neil Stanley, chair of the British Sheep Society
Bronchial passages often become blocked at night

"Any medication that helps to control the nocturnal symptoms of asthma must be a step in the right direction."

Dr Neil Stanley, chair of the British Sleep Society explained that bronchial passages often become congested at night and that for asthmatics the problems are amplified.

"This can cause them problems and they can start wheezing. During the day they might have their inhaler, but at night they might be lazy and not want to get out of bed or think that they will just go back to sleep and this is a problem because if you have disturbed sleep you feel to tired to do anything during the day.".

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