Sleep Disorders Raise Risk of Heart Attack, StrokeAre you sleeping enough? If not, you may be at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. A new study from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Novosibirsk, Russia conducted a 14-year experiment to examine how sleep was related to cardiovascular disease. The findings demonstrate that men who have disordered sleep are significantly more likely to have a heart attacks and strokes than men who have typical sleep patterns. The findings emphasize the need for effective interventions for people with sleep disorders.

The research came from the World Health Organization’s “MONICA” and “MONICA-psychosocial” studies (MONICA stands for ‘Multinational Monitoring of trends and determinants in Cardiovascular disease’). The researchers observed a representative sample of 657 men from Novosibirsk, Russia. The participants were between the ages of 25 and 64 and they had no history of heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. In 1994, when the study began, they assessed the participants’ sleep quality using the Jenkins Sleep Scale. Participants with ratings of very bad, bad, or poor were considered to have disordered sleep. The researchers recorded incidences of heart attack and stoke among the participants for the next 14 years.

Disordered sleeping greatly increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. Sixty-three percent of the participants who had a heart attack also had a sleep disorder. Men with a sleeping disorder were 2 to 2.6 times more likely to have a heart attack and 1.5 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke than men without a sleep disorder. Participants who were widowed or divorced, who had not finished secondary school, or who were engaged in manual labor had a higher risk or heart attack and stroke. These types of social stressors are also associated with sleep disorders.

“Sleep is not a trivial issue. In our study it was associated with double the risk of a heart attack and up to four times the risk of stroke. Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet,” stated Professor Valery Gafarov, professor of cardiology, who presented the study.

The researchers recommend that people who are not sleeping well speak to their doctor or psychologist. Adults should sleep at least seven hours per night.

This research was presented at EuroHeartCare 2015, the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Previous news in sleep: