Poor sleep raises heart con­di­tion risk

Lesotho Times - - Health -

IF you of­ten wake in the night, there’s a greater health risk than a set of bleary eyes the next day.

A ma­jor study sug­gests that peo­ple who fre­quently suf­fer in­ter­rupted sleep have an in­creased chance of heart com­pli­ca­tions.

The re­search, which draws on data from more than 14mil­lion pa­tients, con­cluded that those with re­cur­rent night-time awak­en­ing have a 26 per cent in­creased chance of de­vel­op­ing an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat. The con­di­tion, known as atrial fib­ril­la­tion, is a ma­jor cause of strokes and heart fail­ure.

The re­search team, from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia San Fran­cisco and the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan, also found that peo­ple who suf­fer in­som­nia – mean­ing they strug­gle to get to sleep at night or did not get enough sleep in to­tal – had a 29 per cent in­creased risk of atrial fib­ril­la­tion.

Sci­en­tists sus­pect sleep dis­rup­tions put ex­tra stress on the cham­bers of the heart. This could be be­cause of the way key hor­mones are reg­u­lated dur­ing the so-called sleep-wake cy­cle.

Emerg­ing ev­i­dence sug­gests that sleep af­fects me­tab­o­lism and the hor­mone bal­ance of the body – af­fect­ing choles­terol, in­sulin, blood pres­sure and in­flam­ma­tion. The part of the brain which reg­u­lates heart­beat and blood pres­sure – the au­to­nomic sys­tem – could also be af­fected by ir­reg­u­lar sleep, sci­en­tists think.

Doc­tors had thought car­dio­vas­cu­lar health would only be af­fected at night by sleep ap- noea – which causes snor­ing and dan­ger­ous pauses in breath­ing at night. But the re­searchers be­hind the new study took sleep ap­noea into ac­count when they cal­cu­lated their re­sults, and found heart risk re­mained even among peo­ple who did not have the con­di­tion.

Lead au­thor Matt Chris­tensen, who an­a­lysed the re­sults of three huge datasets with a com­bined 14mil­lion records, said, the idea that these three stud­ies gave us con­sis­tent re­sults was ex­cit­ing. In a sep­a­rate ex­er­cise, he also an­a­lysed the sleep qual­ity of 1,131 peo­ple by mon­i­tor­ing rapid-eye move­ment – a key in­di­ca­tor of deep sleep.

Find­ings showed that hav­ing less rapid-eye move­ment sleep dur­ing the night is linked to higher chances of de­vel­op­ing atrial fib­ril­la­tion. Mr Chris­tensen, who pre­sented his find­ings yes­ter­day at the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion’s sci­en­tific ses­sions meet­ing in New Or­leans, said, by ex­am­in­ing the ac­tual char­ac­ter­is­tics of sleep, such as how much rapid-eye move­ment sleep you get, it points us to­ward a plau­si­ble mech­a­nism.

There could be some­thing par­tic­u­lar about how sleep im­pacts the au­to­nomic ner­vous sys­tem.

Co-au­thor Dr Gre­gory Marcus said, even with­out a clear un­der­stand­ing of the re­spon­si­ble mech­a­nisms, we be­lieve these find­ings sug­gest that strate­gies to en­hance sleep qual­ity, such as in­cor­po­rat­ing known tech­niques to im­prove sleep hy­giene, may help pre­vent this im­por­tant ar­rhyth­mia.

The re­searchers said get­ting enough phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, avoid­ing too much caffeine, and hav­ing a reg­u­lar evening rou­tine could all con­trib­ute to bet­ter sleep.

Ear­lier this year psy­chi­a­trists at the Uni­ver­sity of Freiburg in Ger­many found that sleep plays an es­sen­tial role in re­set­ting the connections of the brain each night. The rev­e­la­tion of this nightly ‘re­cal­i­bra­tion’ pro­vided a ma­jor insight into why slum­ber is so cru­cial for dif­fer­ent as­pects of the way the mind and body works.

It ex­plains why peo­ple cope so badly with a lack of sleep, dis­play­ing a ma­jor de­cline in cog­ni­tion af­ter just one night of in­ter­rupted snooz­ing. But sci­en­tists are be­gin­ning to re­alise it could also play a role on other or­gans linked to the brain – in­clud­ing the heart. — Daily Mail

A ma­jor study sug­gests that peo­ple who fre­quently suf­fer in­ter­rupted sleep have an in­creased chance of heart com­pli­ca­tions.

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