Researchers report individuals with chronic insomnia are at a higher risk of heart disease. The systemic review and meta-analysis included real-world data from 21 studies covering 2 million individuals.
Study reveals individuals with insomnia and related symptoms are at a:
- 48% increased risk of heart attack.
- 53% increased risk of heart disease-related death.
- 14% increased risk of developing heart disease.
Sleep necessities – what causes insomnia?
On average, an individual needs roughly 7 hours of sleep at night. Losing sleep once in a while is a common occurrence but when falling and staying asleep through the night becomes a continuous struggle, termed as chronic insomnia, it can lead to serious health issues.
Stress is a common culprit that might lead to disrupted sleep but lifestyle choices such as:
- Alcohol/caffeine intake
- Late night eating
- Evening/night shifts
- Blue light exposure at night
- Lack of daylight exposure
- Lack of exercise,
- Lack of sleep hygiene (long day-time naps), etc might also add to the sleep burden you may be currently facing.
Sleep and heart disease
“Whenever we sleep our blood pressure reduces a little bit”Dr. Rahul Chhabria, consultant cardiologist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai
In an article published in Indian Express, Dr. Rahul Chhabria, consultant cardiologist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai, says, “[Sleeping] gives rest to both our body and our mind. Whenever we sleep our blood pressure reduces a little bit, about 10 percent compared to that of day time which is called nocturnal deep sleep. However, lack of such sleep, doesn’t let the blood pressure reduce which is associated with the event of a cardiovascular risk,” he said.
Reduced blood pressure during deep sleep allows the heart to recover from the stress of working full-time during waking hours. Lack of deep sleep not only increases the risk of heart disease but it might also add to the risk of diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke.
Insomnia, heart attack and death
Previous studies on the effect of poor sleep on heart health have found that lack of sleep might lead to deposits of plaque on arteries, as a result of inflammation triggered by the immune system, which constricts blood flow to the heart.
A heart attack occurs when blood circulation to the heart gets blocked resulting in lack of oxygen and damage to the heart muscle. Extensive damage to the heart can result in sudden cardiac arrest or fatal heart attack.
The study led by Jihad A. Mustapha was published in the peer-review journal PLOS ONE.