Can Lack of Sleep Cause Heart Disease?

If you regularly sleep for less than seven and a half hours per night, you may be putting your heart health at risk.

 

Lack of sleep issues is especially more likely if you already suffer from high blood pressure. This conclusion came from a Japanese sleep study: published in the jounal ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’ by Doctor Kazuo Eguchi from Jichi Medical University in Tochigi, Japan.

20 Million People in the UK get less sleep than they need

 

Sleep enables the physiological and psycholigical restoration and repair of the body. Increasingly stressful modern living, longer commuting and working hours, and all-night shopping and entertainment have all contributed to a worldwide trend towards shorter nights sleep than ever before. Although the average for the United Kingdom is around seven hours, a third of the population – 20 million people – regularly only manage to grab 5 hours sleep or less.

The sleep study involved a total of 1255 Japanese patients who were suffering from hypertension, over a period of four years. The patients were aged between 33 and 97 years old, with an average ago of 70. It was discovered that those who had insufficient sleep had a 68 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiac arrest, with 99 incidents occurring during the study period.

Lack of sleep increases risk of heart disease

 

However, this lack of sleep may be putting us at increased risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke as the scientists have discovered that having less than seven and a half hours sleep per night increases the risk factor for heart attack and stroke by up to four times.

High Blood Pressure and Sleep Deprivation increases risk of cardiovascular problems by 400 percent

 

The researchers also carried out extensive monitoring of the patients’ blood pressure changes as part of the reseach, and discovered that a relatively small number – twenty of the sleep deprived participants, failed to experience the normal overnight reduction in blood pressure whilst asleep. This smaller subset of the study group were found to be at four times greater risk of cardiovascular problems.

Doctor Eguchi’s team looking for a reason for the sleep study’s findings, believe that a lack of sleep results in greater activity of the nervous system, which also occurs when a persons blood pressure does not fall during the night. This combination in hypertensive patients may cause increased stress of the cardiovascular system, and account for the increased heart disease statistics. It recommends that doctors caring for patients with high blood pressure should investigate and monitor their sleeping patterns more carefully.

It should be noted however, that this study involved patients whose average age was 70 years old, and the results may not necessarily apply to younger people, or those who do not already suffer from high blood pressure.

Chronic deprivation of sleep can also be linked to a number of different health problems, including diabetes and obesity, and there is a link betweeen childhood sleep deprivation and future obesity in adulthood.

What about getting too much sleep?

 

Another sleep study carried out at Warwick University in the United Kingdom in 2007 has shown that not only is too little sleep bad for your health, but sleeping for too long can also have harmful effects on your health. This study, carried out by Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the Warwick University Medical School involved over 10,000 government workers in the United Kingdom over a period of 11 – 17 years, and concluded that the optimum amount of sleep is 7 hours per night. However it also uncovered the startling fact that those whose sleep is excessive – more than 8 hours per night, doubled their risk of dying. In these cases however, the cause of death was not primariliy due to heart diseases.

The sleep study involved a total of 1255 Japanese patients who were suffering from hypertension, over a period of four years. The patients were aged between 33 and 97 years old, with an average ago of 70. It was discovered that those who had insufficient sleep had a 68 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiac arrest, with 99 incidents occurring during the study period.

 

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