Irregular sleep could put you in the danger zone for heart disease, says study
According to a new study published by the American Heart Association, if you go to bed and wake up at different times throughout the week — or if your sleep is interrupted at night — you have a higher risk of heart disease. may face.
The study looked at 2,032 older adults, measuring both their sleep duration and time.
For a period of seven days, participants kept a sleep diary and wore a special watch that tracked their sleep quality by measuring movements and oxygen levels.
Those who had irregular sleep patterns — including differences in bedtime and interruptions in their sleep throughout the night — were more likely to show symptoms of atherosclerosis.
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Atherosclerosis, also known as coronary artery disease, is “the thickening or hardening of the arteries due to the buildup of plaque in the inner lining of the arteries,” as defined on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
The researchers adjusted for external factors, including prior cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
“Sleep irregularity, particularly sleep time irregularity, was associated with several measures of subclinical atherosclerosis,” the study authors wrote.
“Sleep regularity may be a modifiable target for reducing atherosclerotic risk.”
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This study was led by Dr. Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Kelsey M. Full was conducted with researchers from Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and other institutions.
Increased sleep cycle disruption can lead to inflammation and high blood pressure.
It was part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), which included more than 6,000 men and women from six American communities.
The study is different from many others
Dr. Pranav Patel, a board-certified cardiologist at Inspira Medical Group Cardiology in New Jersey, said this study differs from many others that have previously linked sleep deprivation to heart problems.
“What’s novel about this study is that the group of people included all races. Before the 2000s, most studies typically looked at Caucasian men,” he said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
Patel was not involved in the study.
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In people whose sleep patterns varied by two hours or more each day, the study found an increase in coronary artery disease.
“This study also showed increased plaque formation in the extremities.”
“This essentially means that they are more likely to develop plaque in the arteries of the heart, which supply the muscle used to pump blood to the rest of the body,” Dr. Patel said.
“This study also showed that hands and legs — “what we call peripheral vascular disease,” he added, “had increased plaque buildup in the hands”.
Disruption of sleep cycles, he added, can lead to increased inflammation and high blood pressure, which can trigger fatty buildup in the arteries.
“When you’re sleeping, you’re calm and your blood pressure probably doesn’t rise, but when you’re awake, your blood pressure rises because you have to work and do most of your daily tasks, ” he said.
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“It all goes back to the circadian rhythm, which is a natural sleep-wake cycle that most people have. People with irregular sleep patterns have a disruption in this cycle—which leads to inflammation and blood clots. There is an increase in pressure.”
Dr. Patel said the study removed risk factors such as diabetes and past high blood pressure, looking only at sleep irregularity — “a new finding that has not been presented before.”
To achieve a more regular sleep pattern, Dr. Patel recommends setting a bedtime that falls within the same 30-minute window each night.
He said that those suffering from snoring or sleep apnea should see a doctor for treatment.
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The study authors noted that more research is needed to explore ways to reduce the risk caused by sleep irregularity.
Fox News Digital reached out to the lead author for comment.