Insomnia – Although sleep is an important part of one’s day, some people find it difficult to get into bed at times.
Insomnia is described as trouble falling, staying, or acquiring enough sleep, and new study reveals that insomniacs may be at risk.
In addition to interfering with everyday functioning, sleep deprivation may have an effect on people’s hearts.
According to studies, sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
According to their research, the most common sleep disorder affects 10% to 15% of all Americans.
The probable relationship between insomnia and heart attack is more likely to affect women, according to the report’s findings, which were published in the journal Clinical Cardiology.
According to Dr. Martha Gulati, chief of preventive at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Center, the majority of her patients at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Center are women, and insomnia is a risk factor for persons with ischemic heart disease.
Despite the fact that she was not a participant in the study, Gulati gave her thoughts: “Insomnia is actually quite common.”
“We see it probably in 1 in 10 patients in the United States. It is my impression that almost everyone experiences insomnia at some point in their life.”
“The estimate is that 1 in 2 adults experience it at some point in their life, maybe in the short term because of stressful moments.”
The study’s analysis is based on more than 11 years of data from 1,184,256 individuals in the following countries:
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
Researchers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United States conducted the study, which categorized insomnia as a sleep disorder with three key diagnoses:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up early but restlessness that makes it hard to sleep again
There were 1,030,375 persons who didn’t have insomnia and 153,881 who did.
According to studies, sleep deprivation is 1.69 times more likely to trigger a heart attack.
Despite this, the number of heart attacks was rather low, occurring in around 1.6% of those who suffered insomnia and 1.2% of those who did not.
Hours of sleep
The study discovered a correlation between a higher risk of heart attack and the amount of time people slept at night.
Those who slept for five hours or less were 1.56 times more likely than those who slept for seven or eight hours to have a heart attack.
Yet, getting more sleep does not guarantee safety.
Those who slept for six hours or more each night had a decreased chance of suffering a heart attack, according to the research.
“A lot of studies have pointed somewhere between seven and eight hours of sleep being the magic number for us,” said Gulati.
“There is obviously variability for everyone, but too much sleep is rarely the issue.”
The study found that the risk of suffering a heart attack was the same for insomniacs of any age or gender.
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How insomnia affects the body
According to Dr. Martha Gulati, a lack of sleep raises the risk of a heart attack in a number of ways, with a focus on cortisol management.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that controls the body’s response to stress.
The greater a person’s blood pressure, the more stressed they are.
When people get adequate sleep, their blood pressure lowers.
“What really happens when you’re not getting enough sleep is that your cortisol gets out of whack,” Gulati explained.
“If you are having sleep problems, we know that your blood pressure is more elevated at night.”
Gulati discovered that high night time blood pressure might be a risk factor for heart disease caused by cortisol imbalance.
Meanwhile, the study’s authors recommended that sleep deprivation be listed as a risk factor in guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention.
One of the study’s senior authors is Dr. Hani Aiash, a cardiologist and associate dean of interprofessional research at Upstate Medical University’s College of Health Professions.
He claims that sleep is more beneficial than most people realize: “Now we have evidence that sleep is medicine. So good sleep is prevention.”
“If you don’t sleep well… below five hours or six hours, you’re exposing yourself to a higher risk of myocardial infarction. The pattern of sleep is very important.”
Aiash also believes that nine hours seems to be excessive: “Above nine hours is harmful also.”
After the publishing of the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States advised five practices for reducing insomnia:
- Keep consistent sleeping and waking hours, including on weekends.
- Make your bedroom a calm, dark, and pleasant haven.
- Take any electrical gadgets out of the room (smartphones, TVs, computers)
- Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol to improve your chances of obtaining a decent night’s sleep.
- Maintain a high level of activity throughout the day.
If your insomnia lingers, the CDC recommends that you see a doctor.
Image source: Healthline