How does sleep affect heart health?

Sleep duration and mortality
Effect of sleep duration on coronary heart disease, stroke and total cardiovascular disease
Sleep duration and coronary artery calcification
Sleep duration and hypertension
Effect of obstructive sleep apnea on the cardiovascular system
Conclusion
References
More information


We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, but could it be affecting our heart health?

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People in Western countries sleep about 6.8 hours a night. A century ago, this duration was 8.3 hours. Sleep deprivation is becoming more common in developed societies, as are cases of heart disease.

Sleep duration and mortality

A study collected mortality data on 6,928 adults over nine years. It shows that adults who sleep 7-8 hours a night have lower mortality from ischemic heart disease, cancer and stroke. Men who sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours have a 1.7 times higher mortality rate. This suggests that there is a relationship between sleep duration and mortality.

Effect of sleep duration on coronary heart disease, stroke and total cardiovascular disease

A review of 15 studies that assessed the influence of sleep duration on cardiovascular events was performed. This review included 474,684 male and female participants and was followed for 6.9 to 25 years. A total of 16,067 events occurred during this period (4,169 for coronary heart disease, 3,478 for stroke and 8,420 for total cardiovascular disease). This study aimed to determine the relationship between short or long sleep duration and coronary heart disease, stroke, and total cardiovascular disease.

In the analysis, participants who slept less than 5-6 hours had an increased risk of mortality due to coronary heart disease or progression of the disease. This increased risk is about 48% for people who sleep short and 38% for people who sleep more than 8-9 hours.

Regarding the relationship between stroke and sleep duration, people with short sleep (<5-6 hours) were found to have a 15% increased risk of stroke. On average, people who slept more than 8-9 hours a night had a 65% increased risk of stroke.

In addition, the association between overall cardiovascular disease and sleep duration was also evaluated. However, no significant association was found between short sleep and overall cardiovascular disease. But long sleepers are more likely to develop full-blown cardiovascular disease.

Sleep duration and coronary artery calcification

Coronary artery calcification is known to be a predictor of future coronary heart disease. Based on this study at the University of Chicago looked for a relationship between sleep duration and coronary artery calcification. This study included 495 participants and was followed for five years.

Image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

Image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

They found a strong association between reduced sleep duration and increased incidence of coronary artery calcification. They also found that a person who increased their sleep duration by an additional hour reduced their chances of calcification by 33%. When modeled, this effect of one additional hour of sleep on reduced calcification incidence was similar to a 16.5 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure.

Sleep duration and hypertension

There is a hypothesis that there is a link between increased cases of hypertension and decreased average sleep duration. An important study tested this by conducting longitudinal analyzes on a sample of 4,810 subjects. The study revealed that a higher percentage of younger subjects who had less than 7 hours of sleep than those who slept 7-8 hours per night were diagnosed with hypertension in the 8-year follow-up period. -Ten years. In the elderly, a higher percentage were diagnosed with hypertension who had more than 9 hours of sleep per night than subjects who slept an average of 7-8 hours per night.

Habitual sleep for shorter durations can cause increased 24-hour blood pressure, heart rate, and sympathetic nervous system activity. Short sleep duration may affect hypertension in several ways, such as disrupting circadian rhythm and autonomic balance and impeding a healthy lifestyle.

Effect of obstructive sleep apnea on the cardiovascular system

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in which repeated episodes of apnea throughout the night due to upper airway collapse can lead to cardiovascular disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea in middle-aged patients without other cardiac diseases plays an important role in the early signs of atherosclerosis. Obstructive sleep apnea is highly correlated with functional and structural vascular abnormalities.

Some epidemiological studies have found a strong association between obstructive sleep apnea and stroke, heart failure, arrhythmias, and hypertension. An individual with obstructive sleep apnea has a higher risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease.

Minutes from the Mayo Clinic: Sleep and your heart

Conclusion

People who sleep less than 6-7 hours or more than 9 hours a night have a higher risk of developing various heart diseases and are even prone to cardiovascular mortality. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to cardiovascular disease.

Because proper sleep is critical to heart health, interventions focused on achieving ideal sleep duration and quality can likely reduce the risk of acquiring heart disease or even mortality.

References

  • Nagai, M., Hoshide, S., & Cario, K. (2010). Sleep duration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease – a review of the recent literature. Current cardiology examinations, 6 (1), 54–61. https://doi.org/10.2174/157340310790231635
  • Cappuccio, FP, and others. (2011). Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Heart Journal, 32 (12), 1484–1492. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehr007
  • King CR, et al. (2008). Short sleep duration and incident coronary artery calcification. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/183124
  • Gangwisch, JE, et al. (2006). Short sleep duration as a risk factor for hypertension. Hypertension, 47, pp. 833–839. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.HYP.0000217362.34748.e0
  • Drager, LF, et al. (2005). Early signs of atherosclerosis in obstructive sleep apnea. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 172 (5), 613–618. https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.200503-340OC
  • Bradley, TD, & Floras, JS (2009). Obstructive sleep apnea and its cardiovascular consequences. Lancet (London, England), 373(9657), 82–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61622-0

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