Insomnia linked to a 69% greater risk of heart disease, a new study suggests

There are few more frustrating feelings than when you’re lying – okay, tossing and turning – in the middle of the night trying desperately to train yourself to fall asleep. Maybe at some point you will also start with mental arithmetic: “If I really go to sleep later, I can still get four hours. It’ll be fine!”

Counting sheep and trying to convince yourself to relax can only do so much, especially in the midst of the whirlwind stressors of modern life. From the news and weather to the economy and the constant technology-based pings, it makes sense that it can be hard to switch off.

No wonder the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in three American adults don’t get enough sleep, and the National Sleep Foundation adds that 45% of us sleep so badly or so little that it disrupts our daily lives. affected. at least once in the past seven days.

It’s not just our energy levels that are affected either. Not hitting the recommended seven to nine hours has been proven to hamper everything from brain health to your immunity.

an illustration of someone in bed having trouble sleeping

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On the heels of an American Heart Association adding sleep as part of their “Life’s Essential 8,” or the heart disease risk factors to watch, a new study adds to the growing body of evidence that quality shut-eye also plays a role. play a major role in our cardiovascular health.

Those suffering from the sleep disorder insomnia appear to be 69% more likely to have a heart attack than their fast asleep peersaccording to a new study published Feb. 24 in Clinical cardiologistj.

Read on to learn more about this study, plus easy ways to help you prepare for your sleep success and when to seek help if you’re still struggling to snooze.

Related: These are the best and worst bedroom paint colors for sleeping, according to experts

What this sleep study found

The researchers in this study used data from 1,184,256 adults collected from a systematic review of nine large studies, of which 43% were women. The mean age was 52 years and 13% reported one or more of the following signs of insomnia:

Almost all – about 96% – had no history of heart attack.

After analyzing the aggregated data on this large group of people, the researchers noted a direct correlation between meeting the diagnostic criteria for insomnia and an increased risk of heart attack, regardless of the individual’s age, gender identity, and common coexisting conditions, including type 2 diabetes. high blood pressure or cholesterol.

“Not surprisingly, however, people with insomnia who also had high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes had an even higher risk of heart attack than those who didn’t,” Yomna E. Dean, study author and medical student at Alexandria University in Alexandria , Egypt tells the American College of Cardiology. “People with diabetes who also have insomnia were twice as likely to have a heart attack.”

Those who slept less than 5 hours per night were between 1.38 and 1.56 times more likely to have a heart attack compared to their peers who slept 6 and 7 to 8 hours per night, respectively. Dean believes this may be due to the fact that going through all the stages of sleep helps our bodies recover, rejuvenate and function optimally the next day – and shallow or short sleep periods can hinder important daily maintenance.

Getting enough sleep can help our bodies maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and body weight; all factors that play a role in our overall heart health profile. In addition, a lack of sleep can put the body in a stressed state, which can lead to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows can also speed up the onset of a heart attack.

Related: 4 ways to get a better night’s sleep, according to an expert

It comes down to

A new study examining sleep and heart health found that insomnia may increase the risk of a heart attack. The results of this study are based on self-reported data and more research is needed to confirm the link between insufficient sleep and heart attack risk.

Still, if you find yourself sleeping too little often, try these sleep hygiene tips:

“If you’ve tried all of these things and still can’t sleep or are sleeping less than 5 hours, talk to your doctor,” suggests Dean.

Next: What I did for a week to sleep better

Insomnia linked to a 69% greater risk of heart disease, a new study suggests

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