New research links insomnia to increased risk of heart attacks

March 7th, 2023
New research links insomnia to increased risk of heart attacks

New research has linked insomnia to an increased risk of heart attacks.

A review published in the journal, Clinical Cardiology, suggests that people who experience insomnia are up to 69% more likely to suffer from a heart attack than those who don’t have sleep troubles.

Researchers analysed data from nine studies, which involved over 153,000 people who had insomnia and 1.03 million people who didn’t experience insomnia from six different countries. The results of the review revealed that people who had insomnia had a much higher risk of a heart attack. Researchers discovered that the risk was up to 69% higher in those who endured sleepless nights.

People who slept less were also at a greater risk of heart attacks, according to the review. Those who enjoyed between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night were over 55% less likely to have a heart attack than people who regularly slept for fewer than five hours per night.

Study author, Dr Hani Aiash, explained that the results of the review indicate that insomnia is a significant risk factor for heart attacks. Dr Aiash suggested that the public, particularly those with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, should be educated on the importance of good quality sleep. It would also be beneficial for sleep disorder prevention to be incorporated within guidelines to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions.

The findings indicate that females who have insomnia are particularly prone to an increased risk of heart attacks. Insomnia was identified as a major contributing factor to heart attack risk even when other comorbidities, gender and age were taken into account.

NHS data suggests that up to a third of adults in the UK experience sleepless nights. The most common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, an unhealthy sleeping environment (for example, a noisy, light, damp, cold, hot or uncomfortable bedroom), underlying health issues and lifestyle factors, such as shift work, diet and eating habits and jet lag.

Insomnia can make it difficult to get to sleep, cause people to wake several times during the night and make it hard to get back to sleep after waking in the early hours. Most experts recommend around 7-8 hours of sleep for adults and over 9 hours for children.

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