Lack of sleep associated with increased stroke and heart attack risk – Naturopathy & Naturopathic Specialist portal

Lack of sleep can contribute to life-threatening illnesses

Insomnia increases the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke in humans. This underlines how important a sufficient amount of sleep is for our health.

The recent Beijing University study in China found that signs of insomnia are associated with higher rates of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease, especially in younger and non-hypertensive adults. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Neurology".

Which sleep problems lead to the health risks?

Falling asleep, waking early, and daytime tiredness due to poor sleep are associated with higher rates of ischemic heart disease and strokes, according to the current study.

Disturbing factors were excluded

After adjusting for potential confounders such as age, tea and alcohol intake, physical activity, sleep aid use, snoring frequency, depression, and anxiety, any insomnia symptom was associated with significantly increased cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease risk.

How much did different sleep problems increase the risks?

The risk of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease increased by nine percent when falling asleep or maintaining sleep. If people woke up early in the morning and could not fall asleep again, the risk increased by seven percent. Dysfunctions during the day due to poor sleep increased the risk by 13 percent.

Certain people are particularly at risk

Sleep difficulties may be treated with behavioral therapies, which would likely reduce the number of strokes, heart attacks and other illnesses. The association between symptoms of insomnia and these illnesses was more severe in younger adults and people who did not have high blood pressure at the beginning of the study. Future research should focus in particular on early detection and interventions for these groups of people.

Study included 487,200 people

In the current study, researchers analyzed data from 487,200 people between the ages of 30 and 79 from ten different areas in China. People with a history of stroke, coronary heart disease or cancer were excluded from the study.

How common were sleep problems?

Participants reported at the beginning of the study if they had experienced symptoms of insomnia for at least three days in the past month. Overall, 16.4 percent of individuals reported symptoms of insomnia. 11.3 percent of participants reported difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. 10.4 percent woke up early in the morning and were unable to fall asleep after that, and another 2.2 percent suffered from dysfunction during the day due to poor sleep

How many heart diseases and strokes occurred during the study?

Over a period of 9.6 years, 130,032 incidents of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease have been documented, including 40,348 cases of ischemic heart disease and 45,316 strokes. People with the above sleeping problems had a higher risk for ischemic heart disease than people without corresponding symptoms of insomnia. However, only difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep were associated with a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction. Every symptom of insomnia was associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, but not with the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

What was the combined risk of insomnia symptoms?

People who had all three symptoms of insomnia had an 18% higher risk of cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease, a 22% higher risk of ischemic heart disease, and a 10% increase in risk of ischemic stroke compared to adults without such symptoms.

Was there any restriction on the investigation?

There were several limitations in the study; for example, no information on non-restorative sleep was evaluated. In addition, symptoms of insomnia were reported by the participants themselves and assessed only at baseline. (As)


  • Bang Zheng, Canqing Yu, Jun Lv, Yu Guo, Zheng Bian et al .: Insomnia symptoms and risk of cardiovascular disease among 0.5 million adults, in Neurology (query: 07.11.2019), Neurology

. (TagsToTranslate) insomnia (t) sleep problems (t) Stroke (t) heart attack (t) heart disease

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