Poor sleep appears to be associated with a variety of health issues, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. A recent study on people in their forties discovered that having a mix of sleep issues—such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or sleeping less than six hours a night—virtually triples a person's risk of heart disease.
"These new findings emphasise the significance of obtaining enough sleep," Many factors can contribute to a lack of sleep, he notes. Some folks simply do not give themselves enough time to sleep. Others have behaviours that interfere with or disrupt sleep. Some people also have health problems or sleep disorders that make it hard for them to sleep well or enough.
Who participated in the study?
The researchers gathered information from 7,483 participants in the Midlife in the United States Study who reported their sleep habits and history of heart disease. A subset of the 663 participants additionally wore a wrist-worn device that recorded their sleep activity (actigraphy). Women made up slightly more than half of those who took part. Three-quarters identified as white, while 16% identified as black. The average age was 53 years old.
Due to the fact that adults typically undergo different and challenging life events throughout this time in both their career and personal lives, researchers chose to concentrate on people in their midlife. Also, this is when clogged heart arteries, atherosclerosis (which can lead to heart disease), and sleep problems caused by getting older start to show up.
How did researchers evaluate the sleep problems?
The effectiveness of sleep was measured by putting together different parts of sleep, such as
regularity (whether participants slept longer on work days versus nonwork days).
(whether they had issues falling asleep, woke up during the night or early morning and were unable to fall back asleep, or had daytime sleepiness)
alertness (how often they napped for more than five minutes)
efficiency (how long it took them to fall asleep at bedtime).
duration (how many hours they typically slept each night).
Participants were asked, "Have you ever experienced heart problems suspected or confirmed by a doctor?" used by researchers to gauge heart-related issues. and "Have you ever had a significant chest ache that lasted for at least 30 minutes?"
Follow-up inquiries about the diagnosis were prompted by a "yes" response to either query. These questions were about things like angina, which is a pain in the chest caused by not enough blood getting to the heart muscle, heart attacks, heart valve problems, irregular or fast heartbeat, and heart failure.
Low quality sleep raises heart risk.
The researchers took into account variables like a family history of heart disease, smoking, physical activity level, sex, and race that could have an impact on the findings. When compared to people who had regular sleep patterns, they discovered that each additional increase in self-reported sleep issues was associated with a 54% increased risk of heart disease. However, among those who provided both self-reported and wrist-worn device actigraphy data, which together are thought to be more accurate, the increase in risk was significantly higher—141 per cent.
Men had a higher risk of developing heart disease, despite the fact that women complained of greater sleep issues. However, the correlations between sleep and heart health were often unaffected by sex.
The association between the two disorders did not vary by race generally, but black people experienced more sleep and heart-related issues than white participants.
How does this affect you?
There are various strategies to manage these frequent concerns if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, from straightforward adjustments to your daily routine to specialised cognitive behavioural treatment that focuses on sleep issues. Given the numerous benefits of getting a good night's sleep, they are worth trying.
Dr Epstein says that treating sleep problems that keep you from getting enough sleep can make you more alert during the day, improve your quality of life, and lessen the health risks that come with not getting enough sleep.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-covered-with-gray-blanket-3794732/