From Sleep Issues to Heart Issues

Insufficient sleep may be tied to increased heart disease risk, especially in shift workers

(RxWiki News) Shift-workers may face an increased risk of heart problems, a new study found.

Plenty of past research has found that poor sleep may lead to poor heart health, but this study also looked at why that may be.

The University of Chicago researchers behind this study found that patients who got too little sleep and had regularly delayed bedtimes were more likely to have an increased heart rate, increased levels of a hormone that can constrict the blood vessels and raise blood pressure and a reduction in the processes that work to restore cardiovascular function during sleep.

Those factors could be the reason behind the raised risk of heart problems tied to insufficient sleep, these researchers said.

To reach these findings, the study authors looked at 26 healthy, young patients who were restricted to five hours of sleep per night. Some patients had regular bedtimes. The other patients' bedtimes were delayed by 8.5 hours on half of the eight nights of this study — a pattern consistent with shift work.

Researchers suggest shift-workers focus on eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting more sleep. 

This study was published in the journal Hypertension.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 4, 2016