Poor Sleep Associated with Early Signs of Heart Disease

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Marji_110915According to a new study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, inadequate sleep could increase one’s risk of developing early signs of heart disease.

For the study, researchers assessed a total of 47,309 young and middle-aged adults. Each participant had their sleep duration and sleep quality evaluated through a sleep questionnaire. They underwent health examinations to measure their coronary artery calcium and arterial stiffness.

The presence of calcium in the coronary arteries indicated the existence of early coronary lesions. Researchers were able to measure arterial stiffness by analyzing the pulse speed between the arteries of the upper arm and the ankle.

The team discovered that insufficient sleep was linked to higher levels of coronary artery calcium. Participants who reported sleeping five or less hours a day had 50% more coronary artery calcium compared to those who reported sleeping at least seven hours a day.

Researchers also discovered that participants who slept for nine or more hours a day had 70% more coronary artery calcium than those who slept for seven hours a day. Participants who reported poor quality of sleep had over 20% more coronary artery calcium than participants who reported good sleep quality.

Similar results were found when assessing arterial stiffness.

“Adults with poor sleep quality have stiffer arteries than those who sleep 7 hours a day or had good sleep quality,” states co-lead author Dr. Yoosoo Chang, an associate professor at Kangbuk Samsun Hospital. “Overall, we saw the lowest levels of vascular disease in adults sleeping 7 hours a day and reporting good sleep quality.”

Researchers conclude that lack of sleep could easily reflect other health issues; however, they believe that their findings highlight how essential sleep is for maintaining cardiovascular health.

Sources for Today’s Article:
McIntosh, J., “Inadequate Sleep Linked to Early Signs of Heart Disease,” Medical News Today web site, September 11, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/299195.php.

Chan-Won, K., et al., “Sleep duration, sleep quality, and markers of subclinical arterial disease in healthy men and women,” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology September 10, 2015, doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.306110.