Solid fuels use for cooking and sleep health in adults aged 45 years and older in China

Outdoor air pollution has been linked to poor sleep health, but limited studies have investigated the relationship between solid cooking fuels and sleep health in adults. Therefore, we analyzed data from the China Health and Retirement Survey (CHARLS), a national survey of about 17,000 residents aged over 45. Participants were restricted to those who participated in CHARLS 2011, 2013 and 2015 (n = 8,668). Sleep health was indicated by self-reported average sleep hours at night and the numbers of unrested days/week in CHARLS 2015. We analyzed cooking fuel types reported and assessed the duration of solid fuels usage as consistent (indicated use in all three surveys or 6 + years) or inconsistent use (indicated use in one or two surveys or 1–4 years).

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Fig: The numbers of participants on each fuel type for cooking reported in the three study waves. Coal and crop residue/wood burning were considered as solid fuels in this study. Clean fuels included natural gas, marsh gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and electric.

We found consistent use of solid fuels was associated with a shorter sleep duration (OR = 1.17 95% CI 1.01, 1.35 for ≤ 6 h vs. 7–9 h/day) and higher frequencies of feeling unrested (OR = 1.32 95% CI 1.12, 1.55 for ≥ 5 days/week vs. none) compared with cleaner fuels use. The associations for inconsistent solid fuels use and sleep health were in the similar direction but smaller in magnitude. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and evaluate the exposure impact of specific fuel types to inform intervention strategies.

Yu, H., Luo, J., Chen, K. et al. Solid fuels use for cooking and sleep health in adults aged 45 years and older in China. Sci Rep 11, 13304 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92452-0

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