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[GET THOSE ZZZZs] Poor sleep can triple heart disease risk

Individual aspects of poor sleep can be detrimental to heart health. But if you combine them, the risk of heart disease can increase by as much as 141%, a recent study suggests. The researchers reviewed sleep data from 6,820 US adults with an average age of 53 who self-reported their sleep characteristics and heart disease history; 633 also wore a research device (actigraphy) around their wrist that captured sleep activity.

The researchers focused on multiple aspects of sleep health, such as regularity, satisfaction, alertness during waking hours, timing of sleep, sleep efficiency and sleep duration, and linked them to physician-diagnosed heart disease. They found that each additional increase in self-reported sleep health problems was associated with a 54% increased risk of heart disease. However, the estimated risk of heart disease associated with an increase in sleep health problems was much higher for those who provided sleep data by both self-report and the research device (141%), a figure likely to be more accurate.

"This is one of the first studies showing that, among well-functioning adults in midlife, having more sleep health problems may increase the risk of heart disease," said lead author Dr. Soomi Lee, assistant professor of aging studies and director of the STEALTH lab at USF. "The higher estimated risk in those who provided both self-report and actigraphy sleep data suggests that measuring sleep health accurately and comprehensively is important to increase the prediction of heart disease."

Researchers found that while women reported having more sleep health problems, men were more likely to have heart disease -- yet gender did not impact the overall correlation between the two factors. They also found that Black participants had more sleep health problems and a higher prevalence of heart disease than white participants, but the strong association between sleep health and heart disease did not differ by race in general.

Nonetheless, Dr. Lee said, "These findings show the importance of assessing co-existing sleep health problems within an individual to capture the risk of heart disease."

To read the study, click here


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