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Insomnia linked to heart problems

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers from the Université de Montréal have found a link between insomnia and cardiac problems. Twenty-four hour blood pressure monitoring was performed on individuals with insomnia, and the findings revealed insomnia raises blood pressure, and can lead to heart problems.

According to Paola A. Lanfranchi, a professor in the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Sleep Disorders Centre, “Over many years, chronic insomnia can have negative effects on the hearts of otherwise healthy individuals. Whereas blood pressure decreases in regular sleepers and gives their heart a rest, insomnia provokes higher nighttime blood pressure that can cause long-term cardiovascular risks and damage the heart.”

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The study, published in the journal Sleep, highlights the importance of getting a good night’s sleep to maintain cardiovascular health. Thirteen health individuals with insomnia were compared to thirteen good sleepers for the study. The group who experience insomnia was found to have higher blood pressures during the night, correlating with the sleep-wake cycle.

Study co author Jacques Montplaisir, says insomnia can be especially risky for those with pre-existing heart disease. Since blood pressure is heightened among insomniacs, those with overt cardiac disease are particularly at risk for progression of the disease.

Knowing that insomnia can damage the heart makes it important to seek treatment. Poor quality sleep is linked to a variety of health risks, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is now found to be bad for the heart.

Source: University of Montreal Insomnia Study