Sleeplessness is Damaging for your Heart

Not getting enough sleep at night? It might be increasing your risk for cardiovascular diseases, stroke and other complications. A study done in Russia, and presented at EuroHeartCare, reports that men who slept badly were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and up to four times as likely to have a stroke reports a Russian study that was presented

“Sleep disorders are very closely related to the presence of cardiovascular diseases. However, until now there has not been a population based cohort study examining the impact of sleep disorders on the development of a heart attack or stroke,” lead investigator Valery Gafarov, MD, PhD, professor of cardiology at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Novosibirsk, said in a press release.

The study was conducted with 657 men ages 25 to 64 with no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. They were enrolled in 1994 as part of the World Health Organization’s MONICA (multinational monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease) project.

The quality of sleep was evaluated baseline with the MONICA-psychosocial interview sleep disturbances scale. Incidence of new cases of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke were determined at 5 years, 10 years, and 14 years of follow-up. The investigators used Cox proportional regression models to estimate hazard ratios.
Compared with men who rated their sleep as “good,” those who rated it “poor” or “very bad” had more than twice the risk of experiencing MI at 5 years (HR 2.43; 95% CI 1.27-8.59).

This increased risk for MI was also seen at 10 years (HR 2.6; 95% CI 1.35-9.41) and at 14 years of follow-up (HR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1-4.6)

Risk of MI and stroke was higher in men with negative psychosocial factors such as being widowed or divorced, having an incomplete education, and doing manual labor.

For most people, good quality sleep is 7 to 8 hours of rest each night. People who are not sleeping well should speak to their doctor, Gafarov advised. Our previous research showed that sleeping disorders are very closely connected with depression, anxiety, and hostility, so speaking with a psychologist may also help.

Russell Leupker, MD, an epidemiologist and cardiologist at the University of Minnesota and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, said he suspects there is reasonable proof to show that sleep-disordered breathing is at the root of these findings.

“Sleep-disordered breathing is big here, but I don’t think it has much traction in Russia.” he said. “We have hundreds of thousands of people on CPAP machines here for sleep disordered breathing, which we know is related to cardiovascular disease. People with sleep-disordered breathing generally don’t sleep well, they are restless at night, and I think that will turn out to be the connection here.”

An important limitation of the study is its reliance on self-reported assessments of sleep, Leupker said. “A single questionnaire given at one point in time many years ago is not the same as a sleep study,” he said.
The AHA has no specific recommendations for how much sleep individuals should get, Leupker said.

However, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day, noting that sleep is involved in the repair of the heart and blood vessels and that ongoing sleep deficiency has been linked to not only heart disease and stroke but also diabetes, kidney disease, and obesity.

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, maybe these facts about sleep will get you drowsy!

1.Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
2.The higher the altitude, the greater the sleep disruption. Generally, sleep disturbance becomes greater at altitudes of 13,200 feet or more. The disturbance is thought to be caused by diminished oxygen levels and accompanying changes in respiration. Most people adjust to new altitudes in approximately two to three weeks.
3.In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult.
4.Divorced, widowed and separated people report more insomnia.
5.Six in ten healthcare professionals do not feel that they have enough time to have a discussion with their patients about insomnia during regular office visits.
6.More than eight in ten survey respondents think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.
7.Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world. All over the world people consume caffeine on a daily basis in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some drugs.
8.In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Others can’t perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours.
9.We naturally feel tired at two different times of the day: about 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM. It is this natural dip in alertness that is primarily responsible for the post-lunch dip.
10.Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
11.According to the International Classifications ofSleep Disorders, shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.
12.Newborns sleep a total of 14 to 17 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.
13.When infants are put to bed drowsy but not asleep, they are more likely to become “self- soothers,” which enables them to fall asleep independently at bedtime and put themselves back to sleep during the night.
14.Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for approximately 90 million American adults; 37 million on a regular basis.
15.Scientists still don’t know — and probably never will — if animals dream during REM sleep, as humans do.
16.Some studies show promise for the use of melatonin in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings, but not necessarily total sleep time. Other studies show no benefit at all with melatonin.
17.One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.

Source: (National Sleep Foundation)

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