Struggling to sleep raises your risk of heart attack by 69% – study

Dr Nighat reveals heart attacks symptoms in women

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The importance of sleep remains unquestioned. Despite this, around one in every three people in the UK struggle with sleepless nights. Worryingly, new research warns that sleeping problems could be fuel for heart attacks.

Whether you’re a night owl or simply can’t fall asleep, a new study warns about the dangers of sleepless nights.

The research, published in the journal Clinical Cardiology, found insomniacs have more heart attacks.

Those suffering from sleeping difficulties had a 69 percent higher risk of the medical emergencies, with women being particularly affected by the risk.

The researchers shared that the general public should prioritise getting seven or eight hours of sweet slumber a night.

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On the other hand, those who slept five hours or less a night carried the highest risk of heart attacks.

Insomnia – a condition that now affects a third of the UK population at some point in their lives – was identified as trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good-quality sleep.

Study author Yomna Dean said: “Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, but in many ways, it’s no longer just an illness, it’s more of a life choice.

“We just don’t prioritise sleep as much as we should.

“Based on our pooled data, insomnia should be considered a risk factor for developing a heart attack, and we need to do a better job of educating people about how dangerous [lack of good sleep] can be.”

Researchers from the Alexandria University, Egypt, looked at 1,226 studies, including countries from all around the world like UK, USA, Norway, Germany, Taiwan and China.

The study cohort consisted of 1,184,256 adults, with the average age of 52. Out of this sample, around 13 percent of participants struggled with sleeping problems.

Heart attacks occurred in about 2,406 people who had insomnia and 12,398 of those in the non-insomnia group.

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The researchers discovered those who slept under five hours a night were 1.38 times more likely to experience a heart attack, compared to those who nabbed six hours a night.

The risk was even higher for people who had other underlying health problems.

Dean said: “Not surprisingly, people with insomnia who also had high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes had an even higher risk of having a heart attack than those who didn’t.

“People with diabetes who also have insomnia had a twofold likelihood of having a heart attack.”

Different types of sleeping problems had an impact too – trouble falling asleep and staying asleep carried a 13 percent higher risk of the medical emergencies.

Furthermore, the findings suggest that it doesn’t matter whether your feel rested after a shut-eye for the heart attack risk, as long as you’re getting enough sleep.

Based on the findings, Dean said it is important that people prioritise sleep so they get seven to eight hours of quality kip a night.

The researcher said: “Practice good sleep hygiene; the room should be dark, quiet and on the cooler side, and put away devices.

“Do something that is calming to wind down, and if you have tried all these things and still can’t sleep or are sleeping less than five hours, talk with your doctor.”

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