Insomnia – Although sleep is a crucial component of one’s day, some people find it difficult to climb into bed at times.
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling, staying, or obtaining adequate sleep, and recent research suggests that it may be hazardous to insomniacs.
Sleep deprivation may affect people’s hearts in addition to interfering with daily functioning.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, according to researchers.
According to their data, the most prevalent sleep issue affects 10% to 15% of Americans.
According to the report’s results, which were published in the journal Clinical Cardiology, the potential link between insomnia and heart attack is more likely to harm women.
The majority of Dr. Martha Gulati’s patients at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Center are women, and sleeplessness is a risk factor for individuals with ischemic heart disease, according to Dr. Martha Gulati, head of preventive at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Center.
Although not being a participant in the study, Gulati shared 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 analysis of the study is based on over 11 years of data from 1,184,256 participants in the following countries:
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
The study was carried out by researchers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United States, who classified insomnia as a sleep disorder with three major symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up early but restlessness that makes it hard to sleep again
There were 1,030,375 people who did not experience insomnia and 153,881 people who did.
Sleep deprivation was shown to be 1.69 times more likely to cause a heart attack, according to researchers.
Despite this, the number of heart attacks was fairly modest, occurring in around 1.6% of individuals who experienced insomnia and 1.2% of those who did not.
Hours of sleep
The study found a link between a higher risk of heart attack and the quantity of time people spent sleeping at night.
Individuals who slept for five hours or less were 1.56 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who slept for seven or eight hours.
Yet, more sleep does not ensure safety.
The study found that people who slept for six hours or more each night had a lower risk of having a heart attack.
“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 revealed that the risk of having a heart attack remained similar among insomniacs regardless of age or gender.
How insomnia affects the body
According to Dr. Martha Gulati, a lack of sleep increases the risk of a heart attack in a variety of ways, with a particular emphasis on cortisol regulation.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that regulates how the body responds to stress.
The more stressed a person is, the higher their blood pressure.
People’s blood pressure drops when they receive enough sleep.
“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 observed elevated nocturnal blood pressure as a possible risk factor for heart disease induced by cortisol imbalance.
Meanwhile, the study’s authors advised that sleep deprivation be included as a risk factor in cardiovascular disease prevention recommendations.
Dr. Hani Aiash, a cardiologist and associate dean of interprofessional research at Upstate Medical University’s College of Health Professions, is one of the study’s senior authors.
Sleep, he argues, is more useful 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, on the other hand, thinks nine hours are excessive: “Above nine hours is harmful also.”
After the publication of the report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended five methods for avoiding insomnia:
- Keep consistent sleeping and waking hours, including on weekends.
- Make your bedroom a peaceful, dark, and serene space.
- Remove any electrical devices from the room (smartphones, TVs, computers)
- To enhance your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, avoid big meals, coffee, and alcohol.
- Keep yourself active throughout the day.
If your insomnia persists, the CDC advises you to contact a doctor.
Image source: Penn Medicine