Monday, November 15, 2010

Sleep Loss Linked to Heart Disease and Stroke Risk

Researchers have discovered new clues to why chronic insomnia can cut short men’s lives. People who sleep poorly or are chronically sleep deprived have elevated inflammation caused by increased hormone production, a recent study reports. Inflamation is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

The study, presented at the American Heart Associate Scientific Sessions, involved 525 middle-aged people. Each subject reported the number of hours they slept per night before they were was screened for chronic sleep deprivation using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index survey.

After a screening for inflammatory hormones, researchers compared the level of inflammation and sleep quality. Participants who slept fewer than six hours per night and scored poorly on the sleep quality index had higher levels of inflammation. The results were adjusted for external risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

The results show there is a relationship between sleep deprivation and heart disease, but it’s not clear if it’s a causal relationship.

Previous studies show people who sleep at least seven hours per night live longer than their peers. People with abnormally short or long sleep durations have a high risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and stress.

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