Sleeping less than seven and a half hours per day may be associated with future increased risk of heart disease, according to a new study. Additionally, a combination of overnight elevated blood pressure and insufficient sleep may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
"Reflecting changing lifestyles, people are sleeping less in modern societies," according to the study’s authors. “Getting adequate sleep is essential to preventing health conditions such as obesity and diabetes as well as several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including sleep-disordered breathing and night-time hypertension.”
Kazuo Eguchi, M.D., Ph.D., Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan, and research colleagues monitored the sleep of 1,255 individuals with hypertension (average age 70.4) and followed them for an average of 50 months. Researchers noted patients' sleep duration, daytime and nighttime blood pressure and cardiovascular disease events, including sudden cardiac death, stroke, stroke and heart attack.
During follow-up, 99 cardiovascular disease events occurred. Sleep duration of less than 7.5 hours was associated with cardiovascular disease. "The incidence of cardiovascular disease was 2.4 per 100 people in subjects with less than 7.5 hours of sleep and 1.8 per 100 people in subjects with longer sleep duration," according to the authors.
Patients with insufficient sleep duration combined with an overnight increase in blood pressure had a higher incidence of heart disease than those with normal sleep duration who experienced no overnight increase in blood pressure.
"Shorter duration of sleep is a predictor of incident cardiovascular disease in elderly individuals with hypertension," particularly when it occurs with elevated nighttime blood pressure,” the authors said. "Physicians should inquire about sleep duration in the risk assessment of patients with hypertension."
Insufficient sleep caused by sleep disorders may be due to a deficiency of endorphins; acupuncture for irregular sleep cycles can increase levels of endorphins. Common noted benefits of acupuncture for sleep disorders include deeper breathing and better sleeping patterns. Acupuncture can treat many of the health conditions that lead to sleep difficulties, including sciatica, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, stress, and cardiovascular conditions.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500