Insomnia could put you at higher risk of heart attack: what you need to know

  • New research shows that people with insomnia are 69% more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t.
  • People who slept five hours or less were the most likely to have a heart attack. Those with diabetes and insomnia had double the risk of heart attack.
  • Sleep helps regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and weight, all of which are related to cardiovascular health.

With about 1 in 3 adults in the US who don’t get enough sleep, insomnia is a common health problem.

Lack of sleep can lead to a long list of chronic conditions health issuesincluding heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity and depression.

That’s according to a new study published Friday in clinical cardiology,People who suffered from insomnia were 69% more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not. The study is based on an average of nine years of follow-up among patients.

In addition, researchers found that people who slept five hours or less had the highest risk of having a heart attack. Those with diabetes and insomnia had double the risk of heart attack.

They collected data from 1,184,256 adults (43% were women). The mean age was 52 years and 13% (153,881) had insomnia. The diagnosis of insomnia was determined by having one of the following features: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking early and being unable to return to sleep.

It is important to note that 96% of patients had no history of heart attack. Heart attacks occurred in 2,406 patients with insomnia and 12,398 in the group that did not have insomnia.

The results showed a direct correlation between insomnia and having a heart attack in all patients, regardless of age, sex, length of follow-up and common comorbidities (including diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol).

Specifically, those who slept five or fewer hours per night were 1.38 and 1.56 times more likely to have a heart attack compared to those who slept six and seven to eight hours per night.

Yomna E. Dean, a medical student at Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt, and author of the study explained the main conclusions of the study.

First, “insomnia puts us at risk of heart attacks; then patients should be educated about the importance of sleep in maintaining a healthy heart,” Dean told Healthline. “Sleep should be included in primary preventive guidelines for cardiovascular disease.”

Second, insomniacs should be screened regularly for coronary artery disease.

Finally, excessive sleep can be just as harmful, and sometimes even more harmful, than sleep deprivation, Dean added.

The connection between sleep and the heart has many layers.

“One layer is the amount of sleep — people who don’t get enough sleep are unable to provide their bodies with the amount of all the different sleep stages it needs to function optimally,” says Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D ., MTR, volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red for Women initiative, co-author of the new Life’s Essential 8 Cardiovascular Health Score.

Sleep quality is also important.

“Even if you get enough sleep, sometimes sleep can be superficial and fragmented, which also prevents your body from doing all the maintenance it needs during that time. Other dimensions are also important,” explained Dr. Grandner out.

For example, a recent study showed that irregular sleep patterns alone may contribute to the risk of atherosclerosis, and people who are very sleepy during the day are also more likely to have cardiovascular events, added Dr. Grander to it.

“Sleep is essential to helping the body repair itself,” says Wafi Momin, DO, a cardiologist at UTHealth Houston Heart & Vascular and Memorial Hermann. “Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night helps your body recover and allows you to function normally the next day.”

Getting enough shut-eye can also help control blood pressure, blood sugar and weight, all of which contribute to heart health.

“Regular, consistent sleep also helps regulate blood pressure, sugar levels and weight,” said Dr. Momin. “These health issues are linked to heart conditions such as heart attack and stroke, so getting enough sleep and regulating these risk factors can be a big help.”

Sleep deprivation, a result of insomnia, puts the body under stress, which releases cortisol, which could accelerate atherosclerosis, Dean explained. a study performed on patients who developed an acute myocardial infarction (MI), it was found that the concentration of cortisol in their hair was elevated in the month prior to the MI.

Good sleep hygiene is crucial. Dean suggested:

  • Avoid unpleasant temperatures, light and noise in the bedroom.
  • Minimize screen time an hour before bed.
  • Avoid heavy meals right before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed.

In addition, Dr. Grandner recommended giving yourself plenty of time and space to unwind at night.

“When you go to bed, your mind and body should be ready to disconnect from the day. that means putting screens down, engaging in relaxing behaviors, and not eating or drinking too much right before bed,” said Dr. Grandner.

Even when you are in bed, it is important not to lie awake in bed for too long.

If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and don’t get back into bed until you can sleep. It may mean less sleep tonight, but it can prevent longer-term insomnia, Dr. Grandner out.

The main cause of long-term insomnia is that people have too much trouble sleeping, and sleeping becomes so stressful that the stress of not sleeping keeps you awake and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The best way to avoid this is to break the bed-is-wake cycle and support a bed-is-sleep connection when you can, added Dr. Grandner to it.

People with insomnia were 69% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t, according to a new study.

The results showed a link between insomnia and heart attack risk. Patients who slept five hours or less had the highest risk of heart attack. People with diabetes and insomnia had double the risk of heart attack.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for overall health, especially cardiovascular health. It has been proven to stabilize blood sugar, regulate blood pressure and support weight management, all of which are related to heart health.

Good sleep hygiene is essential. For a good night’s sleep, experts recommend keeping the room dark and cool, limiting screen time, and avoiding caffeine right before bed.

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