Sleeping badly or less than 6 hours a day also increases cardiovascular risk – Current Life – Latest news from Uruguay and the world updated


This is the main conclusion of an investigation led by Spain's National Cardiovascular Research Center (CNIC), which analyzed the sleep of a homogeneous population of 3,974 people with a mean age of 46 years who never had a cardiac event.

The study, in which 60% of the participants were men, suggests that people who sleep less than six hours at night may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who do between seven and eight hours.

And also those who sleep badly, that is, those who wake up several times during the night – superficial dream.

The results are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and add "one more alarm" to the already known risk factors of this type of disease, summarizes Efe, director general of the CNIC, Valentín Fuster, who recalls that "the ideal is do not wake up at night and sleep seven or eight hours ".

The work in particular indicates that lack of sleep and / or poor quality increases the risk of atherosclerosis, plaque buildup in arteries throughout the body, although it does not explain the exact mechanism involved – more research will delve into this.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers placed a small device, called an actigraph, on the waist of the 3,974 participants for seven days to continuously measure the activity or movement and therefore the characteristics of the dream, as well as its duration.

sleep disorder, insomnia
Photo: Shutterstock

They divided the population into four groups: those who slept less than six hours; six to seven o'clock; seven to eight hours; and those who slept more than eight hours. Participants also underwent 3D cardiac ultrasonography and computed tomography to detect the presence of heart disease.

Thus, the study found that participants who slept less than six hours were 27% more likely to have atherosclerosis throughout their bodies compared to those who had seven to eight hours.

In addition, those who had poor sleep quality – regardless of duration – were 34% more likely to accumulate plaques in the arteries throughout the body (quality is measured by the frequency of waking or repeating). of movements).

Although the number of participants who slept more than eight hours was small, the study also suggests that excessive sleep may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, especially in women, although it is too early to draw conclusions, the IASC warns.

Previous studies have shown that lack of sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing the risk factors associated with this disease, such as glucose levels, blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

But this work goes beyond quantifying the hours and measuring the fragmentation or quality of sleep, says Fuster, and it does so thanks to the latest technology and its application in the already homogeneous population, with an average age of 46 years, which is when A heart disease can begin to develop.

It is about measuring the disease in its infancy and the dream is "an alarm like any of the other risk factors," Efe told the Spanish cardiologist, who reminds that risk factors should be studied as a whole.

Fernando Domínguez, the first author of the article, sums up in a note of the CNIC: we saw that participants who slept less than six hours a day or had a very fragmented and poor quality sleep had more cholesterol plaques, "then the duration and quality of the sleep are of vital importance for cardiovascular health. "

In this sense, another of the signatories, José M. Ordovás, a CNIC researcher and director of Nutrition and Genomics at the Jean Mayer Human-USDA Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University, USA, agrees that the results of this new study emphasize that it is necessary to include sleep as another tool to combat cardiovascular disease.

This research was carried out in collaboration with Banco Santander, within the framework of the PESA CNIC-Santander study.


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