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How is heart disease linked with lack of sleep?

Dr. Michael Breus, PhD
Psychology Specialist

The Brits released a study showing that people who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease.

This came after a seventeen-year study. Although the reasons are unclear, researchers think it’s related to increased blood pressure, which is known to raise the risk of heart attacks and stroke. The researchers were quick to point out that a third of the United Kingdom’s population clocks fewer than five hours a night. And it’s even worse in the U.S. where more than 40 percent of us regularly sleep less than five hours nightly.

Dr. George P. Heyrich, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

We know that there may be a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease. We know that untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of developing an arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation. We also know that sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure and by treating sleep apnea, we can help prevent atrial fibrillation and help control blood pressure. With sleep apnea, when you stop breathing for that period of time, the oxygen levels in the blood can fall and that’s thought to be the provoker of irregular heart beating. That can also cause severe problems like sudden death in people who do have underlying heart disease. It’s recommended that Americans get 6-8 hours of sleep each night, but research shows, that isn’t happening.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.