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Being stressed at work and sleeping poorly increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

Stress at work kills, lack of sleep as well. We have known for a long time. But for the first time, the researchers examined the combined effect of these two flagella on employees suffering from high blood pressure. Outcome: they are three times more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease, reveals the study published Saturday, April 27 at European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

To reach this conclusion, Professor Karl-Heinz Ladwig of the German Center for Environmental Health Research and his colleagues based their work on three studies conducted in 1984 and 1995 in Germany. Among the 13,400 participants, they identified about 2,000 employees aged 25-65 years with hypertension but no cardiovascular disease or diabetes. They observed that those who were stressed at work and slept poorly were three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than others. In detail, those who were stressed at work but slept well and those who suffered only bad nights were respectively 1.6 and 1.8 times more at risk.

"Sleep should be a time of recreation, to restore energy levels. If you are stressed at work, sleep helps you recover. Unfortunately, a bad sleep and stressful work often go together and when they are combined with hypertension, the effects are even more toxic, "says Professor Ladwig.

A depletion of energy resources

During this research, a stressful job was defined as a very demanding job, but with little maneuver. As in the case where an employer wants some results, but refuses to make decisions. "If you have a lot of demand but also a lot of control, in other words, you can make decisions, it can be positive for your health," he added. "But being stuck in an oppressive situation that you have no power to change is damaging."

As for bad sleep, it was defined by the difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. "Falling asleep is the most common problem for people who have stressful jobs, they wake up at 4 in the morning to go to the bathroom and go back to bed while ruminating on their work problems," notes Professor Ladwig. And to clarify: "The risk is not having a hard day and neither sleep, it's a stressful job and a bad sleep for many years, which reduces our resources and energy and can lead to a hasty death."

Thus, these findings should prompt doctors to question their patients with hypertension about their work and sleep habits, the study advises. "Each condition is a risk factor in itself, and they are linked, which means one aggravates the other." Physical activity, a balanced diet and relaxation strategies are important, as is a drug to lower blood pressure if necessary, "concludes Professor Ladwig, who invites employers to help their employees cope with stress and provide them with treatments sleep if necessary.

24% of French workers suffer from "hyperstress at work"

Many studies have already made the links between stress and premature death. According to a Swedish study published a few weeks ago in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)the risk of serious cardiovascular events such as cardiac arrest and heart attack would be particularly high in the first six months after diagnosis of a stress disorder and in the first year for other types of cardiovascular disease. .

Regarding sleep, American researchers recently made the link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. During the study, patients who were sleepy during the day were three times more likely to have heart failure than others, and were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

France appears to be particularly concerned about these data, as in Hexagon, 43% of adults have consulted with a health professional for sleep problems, a survey for World Sleep Day recently revealed. And, according to a study carried out in 2017 on stress at work, 24% of employees even suffered from a "state of hyperstress" at work.

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