Friday, June 20, 2008

Sleep Deprivation Uplifts Cardiovascular and Mortality

Insufficient sleep time does not only make you short-tempered, but it can also stress your heart and raise your risk of cardiovascular disease and death. It is the result of a study held by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The study have been presented at SLEEP 2007, he annual gathering of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The research reveals another effect of sleep deprivation, besides other neurological and behavioral effects such as lowered concentration, hand-eye coordination and poor mood.

When someone has sleep deficit over just five nights, it is enough to stress his heart.
The researchers tested the cardiac function of their 39 volunteers twice -- once at the beginning of the study, after a night of 10 hours' sleep, and again after five nights when they got a mere four hours of shut-eye each night.

The electrocardiograms revealed that all of the volunteers had a much faster heart beat and significantly less heart rate variability following the nights of sleep deprivation.

Heart rate variability describes the naturally occurring beat-to-beat changes in heart rate which reflect the body's adjustment to a host of stresses and stimuli.

Reduced variability can be a marker for cardiac problems and other diseases and has been linked to high blood pressure.

"The effect of the sleep deficit was to increase the stress on the hearts of these volunteers," said Siobhan Banks, a lead author on the study.

"If our finding is sustained by a larger group and further analysis, it may suggest why short sleep duration is associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality."

The findings are consistent with previous research showing that shift workers are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease due to the fact that they get less sleep because of the disruption in their circadian or sleep-wake rhythms.

In another study, researchers reported that extra sleep can help athletes raise their game. The athletes also reported improved energy and improved mood during practices and games, according to the Stanford University investigators.


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