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Sleeping for less than six hours a night can increase your cardiovascular risk



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People who sleep less than six hours a night may have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those sleeping between seven and eight hours, suggesting a new study published American Cardiology College Magazine. Poor quality of sleep increases the risk of atherosclerosis in the arteries throughout the body – according to a study.

"Cardiovascular disease is a major global problem and we prevent and treat it through a variety of approaches, including pharmaceuticals, physical activity and nutrition. But this study emphasizes that sleeping as one of the weapons we use to fight the heart for diseases – a factor we have been threatening every day, "said senior study writer José M. Ordovás, doctor, researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid and Director of Nutrition and Genomics Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Learning Center for aging "This is the first study that shows that objectively measured sleep is independently associated with atherosclerosis throughout the body, not just in the heart."

Previous studies show that lack of sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing the risk of heart disease such as glucose, blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.

The new study included 3974 bank employees in Spain from the PESA CNIC-Santander study, led by JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, Ph.D., using imaging techniques to detect the prevalence of sub-clinical vascular proliferation and the rate of progression rate in the population with average age 46 years. All participants had no known heart disease and two thirds were men. All participants wore an actigraph, a small device that continuously measures activity or movement, seven days to measure their sleep. They were divided into four groups: those who slept less than six hours, those who slept between six and seven hours, those who slept seven to eight hours, and those who slept more than eight hours. Participants were scanned for three-dimensional ultrasound and heart CT to look for heart disease.

The study found that, when considering traditional risk factors for heart disease, participants less than six hours had a 27% higher incidence of atherosclerosis across the body compared to those who slept seven to eight hours. Similar to those with poor sleep quality, the probability of atherosclerosis was 34 percent higher than those with good sleep quality. Sleep quality was determined by how often the person woke up at night, and during sleep, the frequency of movements reflecting the sleep phases.

"It is important to understand that a shorter sleep duration of good quality can overcome the harmful effects of shorter lengths," said Fuster.

The study also suggested that sleep duration of more than eight hours at night may be due to an increase in atherosclerosis. Although the number of participants sleeping more than eight hours was low, the study found that women who slept more than eight hours at night had an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Researchers explain the results and consequences of the study in the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). Credit: CNIC

The consumption of alcohol and caffeine was higher for participants with short and disturbed sleep, the study found. "Many people think alcohol is a good sleep inducer, but it is a return effect," said Ordovás. "If you drink alcohol, you can wake up after a short sleep period, and it is difficult for you to return to sleep. And if you return to sleep, it is often a poor quality sleep."

Although some studies have shown that coffee preparation can have a positive effect on the heart, Ordovás said it may depend on how quickly a person metabolizes coffee. "Depending on your genetics, if you metabolize coffee more quickly, it will not affect your sleep, but if it is slowly metabolized, caffeine can affect sleep and increase the chances of cardiovascular disease," he said.

The new study differs from previous studies on sleep and heart health in several ways, said Ordovás. It is larger than many previous studies and is aimed at healthy people. Many previous studies include people with sleep apnea or other health problems. While other studies are based on questionnaires to determine how much sleep participants have gained, this study used activists to obtain objective sleep indicators.

"What people report and do is often different," he said.

The study also used the latest 3-D ultrasound to measure atherosclerosis across the body, not just in the heart.

In the editorial, Daniel J. Gottlieb, MD, MPH, and Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, from VA Boston Health Care System and Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Cardiovascular Hospital said additional research is needed to determine if the change in sleep behavior will improve heart health.

"The possible enormous impact of increased sleep deprivation and public health disorders in this study is sufficient justification for such trials, which are necessary to make sure to sleep with a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise," they wrote.

Short and fragmented sleep associated with hardened arteries

More information:
American Cardiology College Magazine (2019). DOI: 10.1016 / j.jacc.2018.10.060

American Cardiology College

Overnight stays of less than six hours may increase cardiovascular risk (January 14, 2019)
collected from January 14, 2019

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