- A new study finds that adults with the healthiest sleep patterns have a 42 percent lower risk of heart failure, regardless of other risk factors, compared to those with a less healthy sleep routine.
- This observational study analyzed the association between healthy sleep and heart failure that included data from over 400,000 participants ages 37 to 73.
- Participants who reported no daytime sleepiness had a 34 percent lower risk of heart failure.
Older data suggests that a third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the
Now, new research finds the consequences of those late nights can be severe for our long-term health.
A study published today in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation found that adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a 42 percent lower risk of heart failure, regardless of other risk factors, compared to those with a less healthy sleep routine.
Unhealthy sleep includes both too little and too much sleep, according to Dr. Steven H. Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
“It turns out the average human being needs about 7 and 1/4 hours of sleep per night,” Feinsilver told Healthline. “And [that comes] from
This observational study analyzed the association between healthy sleep and heart failure.
The study included data from over 400,000 participants ages 37 to 73. Researchers recorded more than 5,000 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years.
Researchers looked at sleep quality and participants’ overall sleep patterns. These included sleep duration, insomnia, snoring, and other factors, such as whether someone was an early bird or a night owl, and if they experienced daytime sleepiness.
“The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scoring of these 5 sleep behaviors,” said Dr. Lu Qi, PhD, corresponding author and professor of epidemiology at Tulane University, New Orleans, in a statement. “Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure.”
The data came from a questionnaire, and sleep duration was divided into 3 groups:
- Short, or less than 7 hours per day
- Recommended, 7 to 8 hours per day
- Prolonged, 9 hours or more per day
After researchers adjusted for medical conditions that included diabetes, high blood pressure, and medication use, they found that participants with the healthiest sleep habits experienced a 42 percent reduction in their risk of heart failure compared to those with less healthy sleep patterns.
They also discovered that the risk of heart failure was:
- 8 percent lower in early risers
- 12 percent lower for participants who got 7–8 hours of sleep
- 17 percent lower in those without frequent insomnia
“Insomnia is defined as either difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, or the perception of bad sleep,” Feinsilver said.
Participants who reported no daytime sleepiness had a 34 percent lower risk of heart failure.
“Poor sleep can affect heart health in many ways,” said Dr. Sreenivas Gudimetla, cardiologist at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital. “One mechanism is blood pressure. During sleep, it is expected that blood pressure is much lower than during the daytime, typically less than 120/70.”
According to Gudimetla, when people have sleep problems, their blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time, and this elevated blood pressure is a “very strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” which includes stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
“There have been some
He said there are other
“Lack of sleep can cause unhealthy weight gain. There have been some epidemiological studies published demonstrating an association with short sleep duration and excess body weight reported on all age groups,” Gudimetla said.
Feinsilver said the most common medical reason for poor sleep is sleep apnea.
“That’s something you can determine very easily, and clearly this doesn’t just cause bad sleep, it causes increased risk of heart disease, increased high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke,” Feinsilver said.
Dr. Ashesh Parikh, DO, a cardiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said that sleep apnea is a condition in which the brain has an inadequate quantity of oxygen.
According to Parikh, obesity increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnea and there are signs doctors will look for.
“Typically, if your oxygen saturation is below 87 percent for fewer minutes at a time, you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea,” he said. “Patients sometimes wake up gasping for air, or they take daytime naps and still feel sleepy during the day.”
Parikh added that treatment for sleep apnea can involve the use of a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BIPAP) machine, “or even dental devices that help keep your uvula and tonsils out of the way for normal air flow.”
He cautioned that untreated sleep apnea “causes a lot of cardiac conditions, from diabetes to irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation.”
Recent research found that adults with the healthiest sleep habits have a 42 percent reduced risk of experiencing heart failure. Also, people who don’t feel sleepy during the day had the least risk.
Experts said that lack of sleep is associated with increased blood pressure and poor blood sugar control, which may lead to diabetes.
It’s not just too little sleep that can significantly affect health, experts said, but also too much sleep.