Irregular Sleep Can Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Problems

There's a relationship between a good night's rest and the risk of cardiovascular problems. Find out what the research has to say in this article!
Irregular Sleep Can Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Problems

Last update: 13 June, 2021

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for overall good health. However, it’s not only important to sleep a certain number of hours; regularity in sleeping schedules is also very important. In this article, we’ll explain the relationship between irregular sleep and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

What are cardiovascular problems?

Cardiovascular diseases are a group of different diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. They’re the leading cause of death worldwide. This means that every year, more people die from one of these diseases than from any other cause.

Moreover, due to our lifestyle and the evolution of society, more and more people are suffering from one of these disorders. They’re a public health problem and many studies are being carried out to try to clearly establish the factors that contribute to the risk of cardiovascular problems so that action can be taken against them.

Some examples of cardiovascular diseases are:

  • Arterial hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

You may be interested in: 10 Keys to Good Sleep Hygiene

How important is sleep?

As we’ve already mentioned, sleeping well, just like eating well and other daily activities is essential for maintaining good health. Not resting properly has negative consequences, both psychologically and physically.

During sleep, we rest our minds and body. Our whole body takes a rest to recharge to one hundred percent for the next day. Continuous bad rest makes us accumulate fatigue and stress, so our body won’t be able to perform all its functions properly.

All this means that, if the situation continues for a long time and our body doesn’t work as it should, the risk of developing certain diseases increases. This includes both psychological illnesses – stress or depression – and physical illnesses- like cardiovascular diseases and metabolic problems, most of all.

A woman who can't fall asleep.
A poor night’s rest has repercussions on our physical and psychological health.

What does it mean to say that sleep is irregular?

When we’re talking about a poor night’s rest, we’re referring to more than just failing to sleep a certain number of hours. So what are we talking about? Irregular sleep also affects the quality of our sleep and our biological rhythms.

If the number of hours we sleep varies greatly from one day to the next, or if we go to bed and wake up at very different times throughout the day, then our sleep will be irregular. Irregular sleep means that our body can’t get used to a rest routine, that our circadian rhythms are out of control, and that the body doesn’t perform as it should.

Does irregular sleep contribute to the risk of cardiovascular problems?

Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducted a study in which they investigated men between the ages of 60 and 70 with no history of cardiovascular problems.

To do this, they attached a tracking monitor, which each participant wore on their wrist. The monitors sent reports to the researchers regarding the participants’ bedtime, sleep duration, and wake-up time.

From this information, they analyzed which participants had suffered a cardiovascular problem and related it to their sleep pattern. The researchers found that the risk of cardiovascular problems was more than twice as high in participants who didn’t maintain a regular quantity and quality of sleep.

A woman yawning while working on her laptop.
Our entire daily life is affected by irregular sleep, and studies suggest that it also puts our heart at risk.

Good rest protects against cardiovascular problems

Often, when it comes to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, we focus on diet, exercise, and medication. However, we often forget such a fundamental and simple factor as proper sleep.

Therefore, studying patients at cardiovascular risk, taking into account their type of sleep, and correcting it with hygiene measures can help prevent many of these diseases. Even so, researchers are still working to carry out new studies to expand our knowledge in this regard.

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