The Link Between Sleep and Heart Health

Forty million Americans suffer from sleep problems, and 29% report averaging less than six hours of sleep a night. 70 million say they suffer from insomnia, while loss of productivity resulting from sleep issues costs U.S. employers $18 million per year.

New research shows that not getting enough sleep may have more serious consequences than missing a day or two of work.

In a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Chicago found that too little sleep can promote calcium and plaque buildup in the heart arteries. This buildup can ultimately cause heart attacks and strokes.

The research team documented for the first time the exact risk of not getting enough sleep, finding that one hour less on average each night can increase coronary calcium by 16%.

The study was comprised of a group of 495 men and women aged 35 to 47. The results of the study showed that 27% of those getting less than five hours of sleep each night showed plaque in their heart vessels. Of those sleeping five to seven hours a night, 11% had plaque while only 6% of subjects sleeping more than seven hours each night had evidence of plaque buildup.

Dr. Tracy Stevens, spokesperson for the American Heart Association and a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute goes further and states that "We have enough evidence from this study and others to show that it is important to include sleep in any discussion of heart disease."

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11 Year Study Finds that Insomniacs Are at Higher Risk for Heart Attacks

Insomnia can wreak havoc on your life. Chronic insomnia can last for months or years. Most people with chronic insomnia spend several nights a week struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep.

The results of a large-scale study investigating the connection between heart health and insomnia reinforce the findings of the University of Chicago team. Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology surveyed 52,610 men and women and follow up with the participants over a period of 11 years.

The results of the study were adjusted for several health and lifestyle factors, including age, sex, education, physical fitness, smoking, alcohol consumption and high blood pressure. What the researchers found was revealing:

• Study participants who had difficulty falling asleep had a 45% greater risk of heart attack compared to those who didn't have problems falling asleep.

• Participants having trouble staying asleep throughout the night had a 30% greater risk of heart attack than those participants able to sleep through the night.

• Those who woke feeling tired had a 27% higher risk of heart attack than people who woke feeling refreshed.

If you're having sleep problems, consider keeping a journal. By keeping regular track of bedtimes and wake times, as well as how you feel in the morning when you wake up, can give you a clear picture of how you're really sleeping. Check with your doctor is problems persist.

These and other studies are making it clear getting enough sleep could save your heart. Taking a supplement like Oraescin is another preventative step you can take to promote the overall health of your circulatory system.

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