Getting a regular good night’s sleep slashes the risk of heart failure by more than 40 per cent, study finds
- Tulane researchers assessed data from more than 400,000 anonymous Britons
- Compared self-reported sleep quality and duration with history of heart issues
- Adults with the healthiest sleep patterns are 42% less likely to have heart failure
People who regularly get a good night’s sleep and are in a healthy nighttime routine are at a lower risk of heart failure than those who struggle to doze off.
A study of more than 400,000 Britons has revealed adults with the best sleep patterns have a 42 per cent reduced risk of heart disease compared to those with an unhealthy relationship with sleep.
The finding accounts for other factors such as age, genetics and the presence of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Around 7.4 million people live with a heart and circulatory disease in the UK, more than double the number living with cancer and Alzheimer’s combined.
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A study of more than 400,000 Britons revealed adults with the best sleep patterns have a 42 per cent reduced risk of hear disease compared to those with an unhealthy relationship with sleep (stock)
Academics from Tulane University in New Orleans took data from the UK Biobank and gave the anonymous participants a ‘sleep score’ based on the data they submitted.
This was compared with their history of heart health over ten years and the data revealed a trend between the two.
A ‘sleep score’ is based on five behaviours: sleep duration, insomnia, snoring, whether they were early birds or night owls and if they suffered from daytime sleepiness.
The findings add to emerging evidence sleep problems may play a role in the development of heart failure.
Author Professor Lu Qi from Tulane University said: ‘The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scoring of these five sleep behaviours.
‘Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure.’
Data analysis and questionnaires were used to examine the relationship between healthy sleep patterns and heart failure.
The researchers analysed data from 408,802 people who were 37 to 73-years-old when they were recruited between 2006 and 2010.
Early risers had an 8 per cent lower risk of heart failure and people who enjoyed seven to eight hours sleep a night had a 12 per cent lower risk. Not having frequent insomnia was also associated with a 17 per cent reduction in risk of having heart failure (stock)
Over a 10-year period, they recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure. Touchscreen questionnaires were also used to calculate sleep score, quality and patterns.
Sleep impacts on risk of heart health
- Good quality sleep is associated with:
- 8% lower in early risers
- 12% lower in those who slept 7 to 8 hours daily
- 17% lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia
- 34% lower in people who report no daytime sleepiness
People with the overall best sleep pattern were 42 per cent less likely to have heart failure, the researchers found.
Those who reported having no daytime sleepiness were 34 per cent less likely to suffer from heart failure.
Early risers had an 8 per cent lower risk of heart failure and people who enjoyed seven to eight hours sleep a night had a 12 per cent lower risk.
Not having frequent insomnia was also associated with a 17 per cent reduction in risk of having heart failure, the researchers also found.
Heart failure affects more than 26 million people worldwide and numbers are expected to increase among ageing populations like the UK’s.
Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked with a number of mental and physical health benefits, including a healthy heart and strong immune system.
While the NHS recommends adults get between six and nine hours kip a night, at least 20 per cent of the population struggles to fall asleep.
The findings were published in the journal Circulation.
HOW TO COPE WITH SLEEP PROBLEMS
Poor sleep can lead to worrying and worrying can lead to poor sleep, according to the mental-health charity Mind.
A lack of shut eye is considered a problem when it impacts on a person’s daily life.
As a result, they may feel anxious if they believe lack of sleep prevents them from rationalising their thoughts.
Insomnia is also associated with depression, psychosis and PTSD.
Establishing a sleep routine where you go to bed and get up at the same time every day can help a person spend less time in bed and more time asleep.
Calming music, breathing exercises, visualising pleasant memories and meditation also encourage shut eye.
Having tech-free time an hour or so before bed can also prepare you for sleep.
If you still struggle to nod off, keeping a sleep diary where you record the hours you spend asleep and the quality of your shut eye on a scale of one to five can be a good thing to show your doctor.
Also note how many times you wake in the night, if you need to nap, if you have nightmares, your diet and your general mood.
Sleep problems can be a sign of an underlying physical condition, like pain.
Talking therapies can help your recongise unhelpful thought patterns that might affect sleep.
While medication, such as sleeping pills, can help break short periods of insomnia and help you return to better a sleeping pattern.