Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Insomnia with Objective Short Sleep Duration Linked to Increased Risk of Hypertension

A new study in the Journal SLEEP found that insomnia with objectively short sleep time is a significant risk factor for hypertension.

The study involved 1,741 men and women randomly selected from central Pennsylvania. Participants were categorized as normal sleepers, poor sleepers and chronic insomniacs based on symptoms of insomnia and objectively measured sleep duration.

Results indicate that the people at highest risk for hypertension were those with insomnia and less than five hours of sleep per night.

Lead author of the study Alexandros N. Vgontzas of Penn State College of Medicine said that both quality and quantity of sleep play a role in determining the risk for high blood pressure. This means that not every person suffering from insomnia is at an increased risk for hypertension.

Hypertension is linked with serious medical conditions, including heart, eye and kidney disease and strokes.

Findings of the study suggest that chronic insomnia is a major public health problem rather than a mere annoyance for otherwise healthy people.

People who have difficulty sleeping or other symptoms of insomnia that last for longer than a month should seek help at one of the 1,600 sleep centers accredited by the AASM.

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