The Mould Show

Is mould the cause of your sleep problems?

October 16, 2020 Dr Cameron Jones Episode 65
The Mould Show
Is mould the cause of your sleep problems?
Chapters
The Mould Show
Is mould the cause of your sleep problems?
Oct 16, 2020 Episode 65
Dr Cameron Jones

Sometimes, it seems like the hardest thing in the world to do is to get to sleep. Be it struggling to drift off, tossing and turning in the early hours or waking up too early and not being able to get any more shuteye - it’s something we’ve all had to deal with at one point or another.

George Clooney blames his insomnia on a racing mind, helped only by going to sleep with the TV on, whilst Lady Gaga’s fibromyalgia and PTSD are both conditions known to negatively affect a person’s sleep. On the other hand, Rihanna’s reported ‘3 to 4 hours of sleep’ is self-inflicted, with the popstar admitting to binge-watching TV late at night. 

A 2016 Centre for Disease Control report concluded that sleep problems, including insomnia,  sharply increases the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and obesity. Moreover, insomniacs are far more likely to suffer from mental health issues like depression as well as being linked to all major psychological disorders.

But could mould be meddling with your sleep, and potentially causing you serious health concerns?

One study set out to investigate whether exposure to dampness and mould could induce sleep disturbances, and their findings suggest that it could be far more common than you think.

The researchers gave 11,318, adults in northern Europe a postal questionnaire and followed them up between 1990 and 2010, recording their sleep anomalies and any potential problems. The scientists defined a sleep problem being prevalent if it occurred three times a week. 

They found that the four most commonly reported types of sleep disturbances were: difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, early morning awakening and general insomnia symptoms like snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

They also recorded information on respiratory health and home and work environments, to see if there was any correlation between the participants’ exposure to mould and their sleep problems.

The results found that floor dampness, visible mould and mould odour would all contribute to the four major sleep problems. Within the study, one in three of the subjects developed insomnia, over the 10-year period, one-quarter of the subjects suffered from interrupted sleep and 15% of them starting snoring.

One of the primary causes of dampness in the home and subsequent mould growth is floor dampness from concrete flooring. This arises during the construction of new homes when the flooring is undergoing the curing process. Emissions of toxic chemicals from waterlogged concrete has been linked to asthma. 

The report concludes its findings, saying: “the observed association between damp and mouldy buildings and the onset of sleep disturbances is a novel finding.” and emphasizes the importance of reducing indoor dampness and mould at home, to reduce the risk of impaired sleep quality, and any potential health consequences. 

So, does this mean that your sleep problems are down to mould in your house? The science is still fresh, and there is plenty more for researchers to investigate, but the results of this study indicate that it could be a possibility. Or perhaps you’re like Rihanna, and simply enjoy a little bit too much late-night TV.

REFERENCES:
Wang J, Janson C, Lindberg E, Holm M, Gislason T, Benediktsdóttir B, Johannessen A, Schlünssen V, Jogi R, Franklin KA, Norbäck D. Dampness and mold at home and at work and onset of insomnia symptoms, snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. Environ Int. 2020 Jun;139:105691. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105691. Epub 2020 Apr 6. PMID: 32272294
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105691

Show Notes Transcript

Sometimes, it seems like the hardest thing in the world to do is to get to sleep. Be it struggling to drift off, tossing and turning in the early hours or waking up too early and not being able to get any more shuteye - it’s something we’ve all had to deal with at one point or another.

George Clooney blames his insomnia on a racing mind, helped only by going to sleep with the TV on, whilst Lady Gaga’s fibromyalgia and PTSD are both conditions known to negatively affect a person’s sleep. On the other hand, Rihanna’s reported ‘3 to 4 hours of sleep’ is self-inflicted, with the popstar admitting to binge-watching TV late at night. 

A 2016 Centre for Disease Control report concluded that sleep problems, including insomnia,  sharply increases the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and obesity. Moreover, insomniacs are far more likely to suffer from mental health issues like depression as well as being linked to all major psychological disorders.

But could mould be meddling with your sleep, and potentially causing you serious health concerns?

One study set out to investigate whether exposure to dampness and mould could induce sleep disturbances, and their findings suggest that it could be far more common than you think.

The researchers gave 11,318, adults in northern Europe a postal questionnaire and followed them up between 1990 and 2010, recording their sleep anomalies and any potential problems. The scientists defined a sleep problem being prevalent if it occurred three times a week. 

They found that the four most commonly reported types of sleep disturbances were: difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, early morning awakening and general insomnia symptoms like snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

They also recorded information on respiratory health and home and work environments, to see if there was any correlation between the participants’ exposure to mould and their sleep problems.

The results found that floor dampness, visible mould and mould odour would all contribute to the four major sleep problems. Within the study, one in three of the subjects developed insomnia, over the 10-year period, one-quarter of the subjects suffered from interrupted sleep and 15% of them starting snoring.

One of the primary causes of dampness in the home and subsequent mould growth is floor dampness from concrete flooring. This arises during the construction of new homes when the flooring is undergoing the curing process. Emissions of toxic chemicals from waterlogged concrete has been linked to asthma. 

The report concludes its findings, saying: “the observed association between damp and mouldy buildings and the onset of sleep disturbances is a novel finding.” and emphasizes the importance of reducing indoor dampness and mould at home, to reduce the risk of impaired sleep quality, and any potential health consequences. 

So, does this mean that your sleep problems are down to mould in your house? The science is still fresh, and there is plenty more for researchers to investigate, but the results of this study indicate that it could be a possibility. Or perhaps you’re like Rihanna, and simply enjoy a little bit too much late-night TV.

REFERENCES:
Wang J, Janson C, Lindberg E, Holm M, Gislason T, Benediktsdóttir B, Johannessen A, Schlünssen V, Jogi R, Franklin KA, Norbäck D. Dampness and mold at home and at work and onset of insomnia symptoms, snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. Environ Int. 2020 Jun;139:105691. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105691. Epub 2020 Apr 6. PMID: 32272294
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105691

Hello. When you go to sleep at night and your head hits the pillow, do you find it easy to go to sleep? Maybe you wake up a little bit too often, or maybe you have snoring. If this happens to you or a loved one, today's show, I'm going to go through the six factors that could help improve your night's sleep. Now to put this in context, anyone who's suffered any form of insomnia, you know that it happens to everyone at some point in their lives.

Famous people who've been insomniacs include Bill Clinton. He used to brag that he didn't need that much sleep until he had a heart attack. Roseanne Barr, the famous comedian and actress. She even had her own show. She was addicted to sleeping pills and she blamed them when she Tweeted out a racist remark. Similarly, we all know about Michael Jackson and his untimely death due to the fact that he had trouble sleeping, and the list goes on and on.

Now, why am I telling you this? Well, a fascinating publication was just published in early 2020, looking at the topic of mould, that's right. What's inside your home? And this question, is mould the cause of your sleep problems? Is what we're going to be focusing on today. Now I need to tell you a few other things. In 2016, the Center for Disease Control published a wide-ranging review of sleep disorders, sleep hygiene, insomnia. And they stated that all major depressive symptoms and illnesses are linked to insomnia, as well, heart attacks, obesity, and even cancer has been linked to sleep problems.

So whether it's depression or suicide, the link with sleep disorders is irrefutable. Now, we also know that in 2009, the World Health Organization released its ground-breaking publication, linking exposure to water damage and mould and respiratory symptoms. But this 2020 publication that we're going to talk about today is now making the connection between mould and water damage exposure, and insomnia symptoms. And this is something fundamental that you need to be aware of. And as I said, I'm going to be presenting the six factors, which you need to be aware of which could improve your overall health.

Now, if we look at this topic of sleep disturbances caused by environmental factors, this publication, which I'm reviewing is again, written up into the show notes below in the description to this live stream or on the podcast. But essentially there was a study which took place over a decade. This is really important because at the beginning of the study, they were asking people about their sleep hygiene or their problems if there were any. And then they tracked them through for a period of 10 years.

Now, there were 11,318 participants, and they were asking, "What are the different types of sleep disturbances?" Because all of us can nominate one or more of those, but we need to classify which criteria were actually tracked through these people over the decade long period. And so we can get to this now. The four types of sleep disturbances include difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, or general symptoms like snoring or daytime sleepiness.

But how do we know if mould is in fact affecting our sleep? And this is the crux of today's live stream. I'm going to be telling you what you must be looking out for in your home and especially which could be impacting on your sleep. And this is another component of sleep hygiene, think of too much stress or screens before bed, that sort of thing. Exposure to water damage and mould is something else that you need to be aware of. And we're going to be going through, what are these questions that you need to be asking yourself?

And they are from one to six. Number one, have you experienced indoor water damage affecting walls, floors, or ceilings? Have you experienced any floor dampness? Number three, can you see any visible mould? Number four, can you smell mould or water damage? And if so, is it affecting one or more than one room? The next question, is this only occurring at home or is it occurring at work? Meaning you're being exposed to water damage and mould in more than one area.

Remember, increased exposure of dampness creates a great risk for you and your family. But you're probably wondering what the scientists found because this is the paper. This is the key landmark paper, which I'm summarizing for you now. And if you ask yourself these six questions, you potentially will be able to improve, you will not sleep. So what are the key takeaways from this research paper? Well, they found not surprisingly that visible mould, dampness, and mould odour will link to all four types of sleep disturbance.

Think about that. Visible mould, dampness, and mould odour are linked to every type of intrusion to a good night's sleep. Obviously, not having any mould or dampness means that you don't experience any adverse sleeping impacts, but having dampness and mould at home and at work makes an even worse probability or higher probability of experiencing problems.

But this issue is, where is the dampness coming from? It's not always a flood or some other type of moisture event linked to a building defect. What happens when the dampness is related to floor dampness? And that's one of the key takeaways in this particular publication. You might be asking yourself, "Where does floor dampness come from?" Well, overwhelmingly the scientists discovered that it was a damp concrete slab. That's right, the foundation on which so many new homes are built could potentially be impacting on your experience and exposure to mould and dampness.

And the scientists state in the paper and in the conclusions that concrete dampness contributes not only to the experience of the wetting event and mould, but also to the emission of toxic compounds. That impacts on flooring and a host of other problems as well. Now, let's get to some key conclusions from the publication. One-third of the study participants experienced insomnia over the ten-year period, linked to dampness.

25% or one in four people had difficulty staying asleep or their sleep was interrupted. And 15% of the study participants had new sleep intrusions brought on by the exposure to water dampness, visible mould, or mould odour. Now, this is 2020 research, breaking news about the impact of water damage and mould in your home, impacting not only on respiratory issues that you might be experiencing but on your sleep.

Now, none of us wants to be addicted to sleeping pills or even need sleeping pills. So, if sleep hygiene is important to you, you need to consider your exposure to mould and water damage in the home. In any case, my name's Dr. Cameron Jones. Feel free to leave me a question on today's post, today's topic. Follow and subscribe on any of my social channels, have a great week. See you next week. Bye for now.