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Poor quality sleep linked to heart disease

Sleeping too long or too little quality sleep may increase the risk of early signs of heart disease

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 11 September 2015

People who have poor sleep habits may be at increased the risk of early signs of heart disease compared with people who get adequate, good quality sleep, according to a study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Researchers in Korea studied more than 47,000 young and middle-aged adults who completed a sleep questionnaire and had advanced tests to detect early coronary artery lesions and measure arterial stiffness. Early coronary lesions were detected through the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries and arterial stiffness was assessed by measuring the velocity, or speed, of the pulse wave between the arteries in the upper arm and ankle.

The results showed that adults who slept five or fewer hours a day had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours a day. Those who slept nine or more hours a day have more than 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to those who slept seven hours.

Adults who reported poor sleep quality had more than 20 percent more coronary calcium than those who reported good sleep quality.

Chan-Won Kim, clinical associate professor in the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsun Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, said: "Inadequate sleep is a common problem and a likely source of poor health, including visible signs of disease, such as heart attack.”

A similar pattern was observed arterial stiffness. Yoosoo Chang, associate professor in the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsun Hospital said: "Adults with poor sleep quality have stiffer arteries than those who sleep seven hours a day or had good sleep quality. Overall, we saw the lowest levels of vascular disease in adults sleeping seven hours a day and reporting good sleep quality."

The study's findings highlight the importance of adequate sleep quantity and quality to maintain cardiovascular health.  "For doctors, it might be necessary to assess patients' sleep quality when they evaluate the cardiovascular risk and the health status of men and women," Kim said.

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