Lack of sleep linked to cardiovascular problems

We know that sleep is vital for humans. Lack of sleep, sleep disruption, changes in sleep habits, and more can lead to real problems–physical and mental.

For example, we know that not getting enough sleep leads to millions of lost work days and a huge annual economic loss … a problem especially severe in the United States.

And, we know that sleep disruption and lack of sleep is tied to problems with school performance, impaired decision-making, the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and the risk of obesity.

Now, a study has linked lack of sleep to cardiovascular problems (including stroke):

“Single self-reported measures of sleep duration are associated with adverse health outcomes; however, long-term patterns of self-reported sleep duration and their association with cardiovascular events (CVEs) and all-cause mortality remain unknown.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Kailuan study is a prospective, population-based cohort study that began in 2006. The present cohort included 52 599 Chinese adults without atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, stroke, or cancer to 2010. Trajectories in sleep duration from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2010, were identified to investigate the association with risk of CVEs and all-cause mortality from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2017. Data analysis was conducted from July 1 to October 31, 2019.

Habitual self-reported nocturnal sleep durations were collected in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Trajectories in sleep duration for 4 years were identified by latent mixture modeling.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause mortality and first incident CVEs (atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, and stroke) from 2010 to 2017 were confirmed by medical records. Based on the baseline sleep duration and patterns over time, 4 trajectories were categorized (normal stable, normal decreasing, low increasing, and low stable).

Results:  Of the 52 599 adults included in the study (mean age at baseline, 52.5 years), 40 087 (76.2%) were male and 12 512 (23.8%) were female. Four distinct 4-year sleep duration trajectory patterns were identified: normal stable (range, 7.4 to 7.5 hours [n = 40 262]), normal decreasing (mean decrease from 7.0 to 5.5 hours [n = 8074]), low increasing (mean increase from 4.9 to 6.9 hours [n = 3384]), and low stable (range, 4.2 to 4.9 hours [n = 879]). During a mean (SD) follow-up of 6.7 (1.1) years, 2361 individuals died and 2406 had a CVE. Compared with the normal-stable pattern and adjusting for potential confounders, a low-increasing pattern [of sleep] was associated with increased risk of first CVEs, a normal-decreasing pattern was associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, and the low-stable pattern was associated with the highest risk of CVEs and death.

Conclusions: In this study, sleep duration trajectories with lower or unstable patterns were significantly associated with increased risk of subsequent first CVEs and all-cause mortality. Longitudinal sleep duration patterns may assist in more precise identification of different at-risk groups for possible intervention. People reporting consistently sleeping less than 5 hours per night should be regarded as a population at higher risk for CVE and mortality.

The source —

Wang Y, Wang J, Chen S, et al. (2020). Association of Longitudinal Patterns of Habitual Sleep Duration With Risk of Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA Network Open, 3(5), e205246. [PDF]

For additional research about sleep and its impacts on physical and mental health, please see the Science Primary Literature Database.

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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