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Insomnia linked to greater risk of heart attack

Mar. 3, 2023 Medical News Today

As research progresses, experts are finding more and more reasons for people to prioritize sleep. One area of interest is how the sleep disorder insomnia increases the risk for other health problems. 

A​ recent review published in Clinical Cardiology examined how insomnia increases the risk of a heart attack. The review found that people with insomnia were 69% more likely to experience heart attacks. Researchers suggest that insomnia should be addressed as an essential heart attack risk factor. 

How insomnia and sleep affect health

Insomnia happens when people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia occurs when the problem lasts for three months or more. Several factors can increase someone’s risk for insomnia, such as high-stress levels or chronic pain. 

W​hen people don’t get enough sleep, it can lead contribute to a variety of unpleasant symptoms and increase the risk for specific health problems. Non-study author Dr. Harneet Walia, director of Sleep Medicine and Continuous Improvement at Baptist Health Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, explained to Medical News Today:

“Insomnia is associated with impairment in quality of life ranging from fatigue, sleepiness, mood changes, increased absenteeism, and low attention. They may also have decreased cognitive function. There are studies to suggest that insomnia is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk such as high blood pressure, heart attack and diabetes.”

N​on-study author Dr. Wafi Momin, a cardiologist with UTHealth Houston Heart & Vascular and Memorial Hermann, further noted the following reasons for a good night’s sleep:

“Sleep is vital in helping the body repair itself. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night helps your body recover and allows you to function normally the following day. Regular, consistent sleep also helps regulate blood pressure, sugar levels, as well as weight. These health problems are linked to heart disease such as heart attack and stroke, so getting plenty of sleep and regulating these risk factors can be of much help.”

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