Heart Attack Risk Increases With Poor Sleep

Those who continually suffer with sleepless or restless nights may have another risk to think about: heart attacks.

Fifty to seventy million people are estimated to have some sort of sleep disorder or issue sleeping throughout the United States, which means that significant number of individuals may inadvertently be at risk for experiencing a heart attack. A new study, released by the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, reported that “Sleep disorders are very closely related to the presence of cardiovascular diseases,” according to Professor Valery Gafarov, who was among those at EuroHeartCare 2015 to present findings from the study.

While the study began 21 years ago in 1994, it is important to note that just over 650 individuals actually took part in the study, meaning that it was a comparatively small study, all told. The results from this study about the link between heart attack and poor sleep showed that lack of sleep definitely had an impact on a person’s risk of having a heart attack. People who have been diagnosed with some sort of sleep disorder are two to 2.6 times more likely to have a heart attack, while they are also 1.5 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke, an equally serious health condition.

The National Sleep Foundation, which specializes in sleep research and education, says that adults aged 18 to 64 should get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Adults 65 and older should get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Much of the population, however, is running on a sleep deficit or debt, which means there are a large number of people who are currently never feeling truly rested. Not only does this lack of sleep put the population at an increased risk for having a heart attack, it also sees people experiencing conditions like anxiety and depression in greater numbers.

Dr. Gafarov says that individuals hoping to reduce their risk of having a heart attack should seriously consider the amount of sleep they are getting and suggests that a lack of sleep can be remedied simply, and in much the same way as diet can be modified and fixed up to improve an individual’s overall health. This new research also suggests that a lack of sleep can be as bad for an individual as smoking, which is in and of itself a risk factor for heart attack.

While very few people in society now have the time to get the full eight hours of sleep they might need in order to get through the day, it’s also important to realize that there are choices people need to make in order to ensure that their health remains a priority. Cutting that risk of a heart attack might be enough of a choice, particularly when it comes to determining whether someone will continue to stay awake, or if you will try to get the sleep you need for continued good health.

[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images]