Catching up on sleep over the weekend may not help the heart
ANAHEIM, California -— Using the weekend to catch up on sleep may not be good for heart health, a new study suggests.
The study, presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, included more than 21,000 older female health care professionals without a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Those who spent two or more hours catching up on sleep over the weekend — what researchers call “sleep debt” — were more likely to have poor cardiovascu- lar health.
Sleep expert Marie-Pierre StOnge, Ph.D., said the findings suggest people who catch up on sleep over the weekend aren’t counteracting the harmful effects of not getting enough sleep the rest of the week.
“You’re not really salvaging yourself,” said St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Department of Medicine in New York City, who was not part of the new study.
It’s best to get at least seven hours of sleep each night and to go to bed and wake at about the same time every day, she said.
Even after researchers accounted for factors such as income, education and overall stress, women with sleep debt were still worse off.
The news is especially troubling because women are living longer and report more sleep issues than men, said Michelle Albert, M.D., the study’s senior researcher and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Women in the study were 72 years old on average.
Between 50 and 70 million U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep or have sleep disorders, according to estimates from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Among people with acute coronary syndromes, which includes heart attacks and other sudden blockages of blood flow to the heart, about a third report having sleep disturbances, said Albert. She is the director of UCSF’s NURTURE Center, which conducts research related to adversity, social determinants of health and cardio- industry, although some on a panel that reviewed and commented on them do.
The guidelines were published in two journals — Hypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Blood pressure should be checked at least once a year by a health professional, and diagnosing high pressure requires 2 or 3 readings on at least two occasions.
The common way uses a cuff on the upper arm to temporarily block the flow of blood in an artery in the arm and gradually release it while listening with a stethoscope and counting sounds the blood makes as it flows through the artery. But that is prone to error, and many places now use automated devices.
The guidelines don’t pick a method, but recommend measuring pressure in the upper arm; devices that work on fingers or are worn on wrists “aren’t ready for prime time,” Whelton said.
Home monitoring also is recommended; devices cost as little as $40 to $60.
Unlike adults, numbers for normal pressure in children vary with age, height and gender. Kids should be vascular disease.
Previous studies of sleep and cardiovascular disease have mostly focused on the total amount of sleep, not sleep debt, Albert said.
A 2016 scientific statement from the American Heart Association reported that not sleeping enough, obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia can influence the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease. ••• American Heart Association News checked at least once a year for high pressure, say guidelines announced in August by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
After age 13, the levels defining high pressure are the same as for adults, said a member of the pediatrics panel, Dr. Elaine Urbina of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“When you turn 18 years and one minute, you shouldn’t suddenly have a new definition,” she said. ••• Associated Press
A patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt.