Posted on Dec 01, 2020, 5 p.m.
Healthy sleep habits are associated with a lower risk of heart failure; adults with the healthiest sleep patterns experienced a 42% reduction in the risk of heart failure compared to those with unhealthy sleep patterns according to a study published in the journal Circulation.
Over 26 million people are affected by heart failure, and emerging evidence suggests that sleep problems may play a role in the development of heart failure. This observational study examined the relationship between healthy sleep patterns and heart failure, and included data from 408,802 UK Biobank participants between the ages of 37-73 at recruitment time.
Sleep quality, as well as overall sleep patterns, were analyzed, measures of sleep quality included sleep duration, insomnia, snoring, and other sleep-related features such as whether the participant was an early bird/night owl and if they experienced daytime sleepiness. Incidence of heart failure data was collected until 04/01/2019, and 5,221 cases of heart failure were recorded during a median follow up of 10 years.
"The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scoring of these five sleep behaviors," said Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., corresponding author and professor of epidemiology and director of the Obesity Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans. "Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure."
During this study participant’s sleep behaviors were collected through touchscreen questionnaires, and sleep duration was defined into 3 groups: short or less than 7 hours a day; recommended or 7-8 hours a day; and prolonged or 9+ hours a day.
Participants with the healthiest sleep pattern had a 42% decrease in the risk of heart failure compared to those with an unhealthy sleep pattern after adjusting for diabetes, hypertension, medication use, genetic variation, and other covariates. The risk of heart failure was found to be independently associated and to be 8% lower in early risers, 12% lower in those who slept 7-8 hours a day, 17% lower in those who did not experience frequent insomnia, and 34% lower in those who did not report experiencing daytime sleepiness.
The study was limited to its observational nature, the fact that participant sleep behaviors were self-reported, and that the information on changes in sleep behaviors during follow up not being available. It was noted that other unmeasured or unknown adjustments could have also influenced the findings. Despite the limitations, the researchers were confident in their findings and also not that the study strengths included its novelty, prospective study design and large sample size.
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