October 29, 2011

Sleep, for your heart's sake

We all know the benefits of a good night's sleep, but did you know not getting enough sleep could do harm to your heart?
New study published in
Circulation warns against possible risk of myocardial infarction if you suffer of prolonged insomnia.
We all know that even short term sleep deprivation can cause strong effect on general health, but this is one of the few prospective studies that investigated insomnia as risk factor for acute cardiovascular events in the long term.
The study was large, involving 50,000 adults who live in Norway. Partecipants have been followed for 11 years. By that time, 2,386 of them had had their
first heart attack already.
Difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep and having a feeling of nonrestorative sleep were associated with a 45% increase in AMI risk.
This study keep in account some variables that are indipendent risk factors for IMA and that can rehinforce insomnia: Obesity,
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),
A previous study published in JAMA in 2008 already showed that Longer measured sleep is associated with lower coronary artery calcification incidence independent of examined potential mediators and confounders. A good sleeper sleeps at least 7 hours at night. One out of four of those who slept less than 5-7 hours had coronaric calcifications...
Another Study of 2006, published in the journal Hypertension showed a link between low duration and quality of sleep and high blood pressure. Researchers followed 4,800 normotensive people for 10 years.. Of those who slept less than five hours a night, 24 percent developed high blood pressure compared to only 12 percent of those who got seven or eight hours of sleep a night.
1. Psycho-reactive Insomnia (your mind can’t stop working);
2. Endogenous Insomnia: This is caused by a discomforts or pathology-related pain;
3. Exogenous Insomnia: Causes come from the environment;
4. Use of drugs or caffeine;
5. Functional Insomnia: This is caused by a functional unbalances:

  • Insufficient serotonine or melatonine production;

  • Magnesium and other minerals deficiences;

  • Thyroid Hormone Disorders

  • Excess of adrenaline production

  • Breathing disorders


  • Try to maintain a steady schedule: rising and going to bed at the same time each day;

  • Avoid distractions when it’s time to sleep;

  • Try meditation or relaxing techniques;

  • Keep the room as dark as possible – darkness triggers melatonin production;

  • Try to stay sometime at sunlight during the day if the sun shine;

  • Make regular physical exercise but not before going to bed.

  • Have the last meal or snack at last 2 hours before bedtime.

  • Consider a non-prescription sleep aid.

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