Sleep has many effects on mental and physical health, including, according to new research, cardiovascular health. A study from the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea linked sleep duration and quality to the risk of heart disease. The findings connect risks for heart disease and sleep habits in relatively young adults. The results underscore the importance of getting the right amount of sleep.
The study participants were 47,000 young and middle-aged men and women, with an average age of 41 years. The participants answered questions about how long and how well they slept. They also went through tests that measure cardiovascular health. The amount of calcium in the heart arteries and arterial stiffness in the arm and ankle were measured. Measuring calcium buildup and arterial stiffness can reveal the level of risk for heart disease.
Participants who slept more or fewer than seven hours per night had increased risk for heart disease. Those who slept fewer than five hours per night had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than participants who slept seven hours per night. Furthermore, participants who slept nine hours per night had 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to participants who slept seven hours night. Poor sleep quality was also linked to cardiovascular health: people who reported sleeping poorly had 20 percent more calcium buildup in their arteries than those who reported sleeping well. The researchers observed a similar relationship between sleep habits and arterial stiffness.
The best cardiovascular health was found in participants who slept about seven hours per night and who reported good sleep quality. However, the researchers note that sleep may not be the cause of cardiovascular health issues. Other factors, like hormones or metabolic health, may play a role. Regardless, the study emphasizes the importance of sleeping well.
This research is published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
Previous news in sleep: