Insomnia – Although sleep is an essential component of one’s day, some people struggle with falling asleep in bed at times.
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling, staying, or gaining adequate sleep, and a recent study suggests that insomniacs may be at danger.
Sleep deprivation may have an influence on people’s hearts, in addition to interfering with daily functioning.
Insomnia has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack in studies.
The most prevalent sleep issue, according to their research, affects 10% to 15% of all Americans.
According to the report’s findings, which were published in the journal Clinical Cardiology, the possible association between sleeplessness and heart attack is more likely to impact women.
According to Dr. Martha Gulati, chief of preventive services at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Center, the majority of her patients are women, and sleeplessness is a risk factor for those with ischemic heart disease.
Although not being a participant in the study, Gulati shared her thoughts: “Insomnia is actually quite common.”
“We see it probably in 1 in 10 patients in the United States. It is my impression that almost everyone experiences insomnia at some point in their life.”
“The estimate is that 1 in 2 adults experience it at some point in their life, maybe in the short term because of stressful moments.”
The analysis of the study is based on more than 11 decades of information collected from 1,184,256 people in the following countries:
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
The study was undertaken by researchers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United States, and it classified insomnia as a sleep disorder with three major diagnoses:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up early but restlessness that makes it hard to sleep again
There were 1,030,375 people who did not suffer from insomnia and 153,881 who did.
Sleep deprivation is 1.69 times more likely to cause a heart attack, according to research.
Despite this, the number of heart attacks was quite modest, occurring in around 1.6% of individuals who had insomnia and 1.2% of those who did not.
Hours of sleep
The researchers observed a link between a higher risk of heart attack and the amount of time participants spent sleeping at night.
Individuals who slept for five hours or less were 1.56 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who slept for seven or eight hours.
Getting more sleep, however, does not ensure safety.
According to the study, those who slept for six hours or more each night had a lower risk of having a heart attack.
“A lot of studies have pointed somewhere between seven and eight hours of sleep being the magic number for us,” said Gulati.
“There is obviously variability for everyone, but too much sleep is rarely the issue.”
The study discovered that insomniacs of any age or gender had the same risk of having a heart attack.
How insomnia affects the body
A lack of sleep, according to Dr. Martha Gulati, increases the risk of a heart attack in a variety of ways, with a focus on cortisol control.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that regulates how the body reacts to stress.
The higher a person’s blood pressure, the more stressed he or she is.
People’s blood pressure drops when they receive enough sleep.
“What really happens when you’re not getting enough sleep is that your cortisol gets out of whack,” Gulati explained.
“If you are having sleep problems, we know that your blood pressure is more elevated at night.”
Gulati observed that having high nighttime blood pressure might be a risk factor for heart disease induced by cortisol imbalance.
Meanwhile, the study’s authors suggested that sleep deprivation be included as a risk factor in cardiovascular disease preventive recommendations.
Dr. Hani Aiash, a cardiologist and associate dean of interprofessional research at Upstate Medical University’s College of Health Professions, is one of the study’s senior authors.
Sleep, he argues, is more useful than most people realize: “Now we have evidence that sleep is medicine. So good sleep is prevention.”
“If you don’t sleep well… below five hours or six hours, you’re exposing yourself to a higher risk of myocardial infarction. The pattern of sleep is very important.”
Aiash also feels that nine hours is too long: “Above nine hours is harmful also.”
After the release of the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States recommended five methods for minimizing insomnia:
- Keep consistent sleeping and waking hours, including on weekends.
- Make your bedroom a relaxing, dark, and comfortable retreat.
- Remove any electrical devices from the room (smartphones, TVs, computers)
- To enhance your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, avoid big meals, coffee, and alcohol.
- Keep an active lifestyle throughout the day.
If your sleeplessness persists, the CDC advises you to contact a doctor.