By Megan Evans | Contributor
According to a study published in the American Heart Association flagship journal this month, there is a direct correlation between adults with healthy sleeping patterns and a decreased risk of heart failure. Heart failure affects more than 26 million people and emerging evidence suggests that a healthy sleep pattern can decrease the risk by 42%.
A healthy sleep pattern is qualified as having at least 7-8 hours a day, rising in the morning and showing no signs of medical conditions such as insomnia or excessive tiredness during the day.
Between 2006 and 2010, researchers examined 408,802 UK Biobank participants aged between 37 and 73 for the relationship between heart failure and a healthy sleep pattern. The team also recorded that the total cases were 5,221 during a median follow up 10 years later.
Researchers critically analysed sleep quality in regards to overall sleep patterns, which include duration, insomnia and other related areas, such as if they stay up late, or wake up early, or even have daytime sleepiness.
Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D, the Director of the Obesity Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans stated that:
“The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scoring of these five sleep behaviours… Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure.”
The sleep behaviours were collected through questionnaires, and then defined into three groups: short, or less than 7 hours a day; recommended, or 7 to 8 hours a day, or 9 hours or more a day.
After adjusting for diabetes, hypertension, medical intervention, genetic variations and other pre-existing health conditions, participants with the healthiest sleep pattern had a 42% reduction in the risk of heart failure compared to people with an unhealthy sleep pattern.
They also found the risk of heart failure was independently associated with a reduction of 8% in early risers, 12% in those who slept 7 to 8 hours daily, 17% in those who did not have frequent insomnia and 34% in those reporting no daytime sleepiness.
Participants’ sleep behaviours were self-reported, and the information on changes in sleep behaviours during follow-up were not available. Researchers also noted that there may have been other unmeasured or unknown factors that may have influenced findings.
The researchers also noted that the study’s strengths include its novelty, prospective study design and large sample size.
Healthy sleep appears to have a significant effect on the risk of heart failure and is definitely beneficial for other areas of health.