A new study has found insufficient sleep is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, clogged arteries and premature death. The study's findings were originally published in Experimental Physiology.
Researchers may be closer to understanding why there is a link, which could potentially help doctors spot the warning signs in patients who might need treatment for sleep disorders before they develop the serious health condition.
For the study, middle-aged adults without heart disease were part of the research. They were from a major metropolitan surrounding Denver and Boulder, Colorado in the US. The team had all the participants complete a questionnaire in order to understand their sleep patterns. They also provided blood samples after fasting overnight. The team measured microRNAs 125a, 126 and 146a, which was extracted from the blood.
Molecules known as microRNAs are part of the process that works to maintain vascular health and are known to be specific biomarkers of cardiovascular health, inflammation and disease. The team found that people who slept less than seven hours had extremely low levels of these molecules. The results are an indication that they may be suffering from heart disease.
"The link between insufficient sleep and cardiovascular disease may be due, in part, to changes in microRNAs," author of the study Jamie Hijmans, told a news portal. Adding, "These findings suggest there may be a 'fingerprint' associated with a person's sleep habits, and that fluctuations in miRNA levels may serve as a warning or guide to disease stage and progression."
Multiple studies investigating the effects of insufficient sleep have discovered alarming results, which highlight the need and importance to make sleep a priority.
One study found sleeping less than six hours can increase the risk of being dehydrated. This is because a hormone called vasopressin is released all through the day, even when you are asleep to help regulate the body's hydration status. "Vasopressin is released both more quickly and later on in the sleep cycle," lead author of the study Asher Rosinger, told a news portal. Adding, "So, if you're waking up earlier, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption in the body's hydration."
Dehydration can have a huge impact on the body in various ways including on cognition, mood and physical performance. It could even put you at risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Another study found too little sleep can make a person angrier. “In general, anger was substantially higher for those who were sleep restricted,” Zlatan Krizan, professor of psychology at Iowa State, told a news portal. “We manipulated how annoying the noise was during the task and as expected, people reported more anger when the noise was more unpleasant. When sleep was restricted, people reported even more anger, regardless of the noise.”