The cliched over-used adages about sleeping early might not be something that most people take seriously but cardiologists and sleep experts swear to them. Doctors say that losing quality and quantity sleep is detrimental to our health. Senior interventional cardiologist, Dr. Nilesh Gautam says, “Sleep disorders cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and thyroid hormones, which is indicative of a stress response. This leads to increase heart attack and heart failures.” Experts reiterate that people who sleep less than seven hours per day have an increased risk of heart disease, and this is true regardless of other factors that influence heart health like age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.

CONNECT BETWEEN HEART-HEALTH AND  SLEEP DURATION:-   Sleep-deprived people show less variability in their heart rate, state doctors. Dr Gautam explains, “Instead of fluctuating normally the heart rate usually stays elevated and this is not a good sigh. It mimics a situation of heightened stress.” Lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance, a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  He adds, “Shortened sleep can increase CRP or C-reactive protein, which is released during stress and inflammation. If CRP is high, it’s a risk factor for cardiovascular and heart disease. Shortened sleep also interferes with appetite regulation. So the individual may end up eating more or consuming food that’s unhealthy for the heart.”

SLEEP DISORDER AND INCREASED RISK OF  HEART ATTACK, STROKE:-   Research shows increased incidence of heart attack or stroke linked to sleep deprivation or excess sleep. Cardiac electro physiologist, Dr. Santhosh Kumar Dora says, “As per a meta analysis in a European heart journal, short sleepers with less than six hours of sleep run 40 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease and 15 percent of stroke. Similarly those who sleep more than nine hours have 38 percent and 65 percent of increased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke respectively”.  A recent study also has confirmed increased association of heart attack and stroke with sleep deprivation.

Doctors state that short sleepers tend to have faster heart rate and higher blood pressure which expose them to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. They tend to have insulin resistance leading to increased incidence of diabetes mellitus.  The C-reactive protein, a inflammation marker and risk factor for coronary artery disease, stays elevated in sleep-deprived people. The coronary calcium score is more in short sleepers. All these are considered as risk factors for both heart attack and stroke.


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