Good Quality Sleep May Build Healthy Hearts

Sep 15, 2015

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By Patti Neighmond

Are you not getting enough sleep, or are you getting too much? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you may be at risk of heart disease.

Just the right amount of good-quality sleep is key to good heart health, according to researchers at the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease, even at a relatively young age.

The researchers studied more than 47,000 young and middle-aged men and women, average age around 41, who answered questions about how long and how well they slept.

Then they had tests to measure their cardiovascular health. Early coronary lesions were detected by measuring the amount of calcium in the arteries of the heart. Stiffness of arteries was measured by the speed of blood coursing through the arteries in the upper arm and ankle.

Calcium buildup and arterial stiffness are two important warning signs of oncoming heart disease.

Findings showed that adults who slept fewer than five hours a night had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours. Those who slept nine hours or more a night had even worse outcomes, with 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to those who slept seven hours.


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One comment on “Good Quality Sleep May Build Healthy Hearts”

  • Sounds a bit dodgy.
    This link is very well established and won’t be a surprise to anyone. Presumably there was some other reason for the research expenditure?

    Obesity is very prevalent and sleep apnoea is very prevalent among the obese. Obesity is also strongly linked to CVD.

    Disrupted sleep also arises as a result of frequently consuming substances which produce unusually large amounts of all kinds of glycating molecules such as glucose, fructose, alcohol, nicotine and the chronic impact of oxidative stress on functional and structural proteins and DNA. Mechanisms range from very complex effects on mental function, including depression, plus very simple effects like stiffening of the bladder walls which contributes to multiple lavatory visits during the night as a result of the metabolic release of the additional water taken on board to store glycogen and to mitigate excess dietary sugars intake.

    Disrupted sleep can also contribute to the appearance of excess sleep. If sleep quality is poor earlier in the night then the results might be no different to just going to bed really late. Which means that waking up late after 9 hours in bed may not equate to excessive sleep. Plus depression, a potential consequence of cumulative glycation impact (suspected because it sometimes goes away when glycation impact is eliminated), can just as often be associated with excessive sleep as for insufficient sleep.

    The direct effects of glycation, typically via chronic excess dietary sugar consumption, are things like DNA damage and stiffening and damage to the arterial linings (CVD) plus the hormonal metabolic impact that contributes to fat accumulation and reduced metabolic rate. There’s a positive feedback effect with reduced metabolic rate which induces less physical activity, which means less glycogen consumed, which means the loss of a sink to rapidly sequester additional dietary sugars, which implies mitigation via direct glucose consumption and fat accumulation, which means less physical energy expenditure and physical activity stress, less endorphin release, less energy depletion, etc. with the outcome being less sleep because the end of day hormonal environment does not signal sleepiness. You can add to all that the addictive attractions of electronic entertainment and that people who try to go to bed at a reasonable time of the evening are considered unusual.

    Once people have sufficiently damaged their metabolism then sleep apnoea is often the next step. Often causing sleep issues during the day, for which stimulant pharmaceuticals are employed – which also disrupt sleep. Some then continue on towards diabetes and other metabolic disorders where the body can endogenously produce excess quantities of it’s own glucose, fructose, and alcohol. So the truly metabolically deranged can apparently continue to experience the consequences of consuming junk food without even needing to eat.

    It would be a surprise if this research found that there wasn’t much of a link between sleep quality and pretty much everything.



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