Sleeping poorly and sleeping poorly can have negative effects on daily life, such as stress , tiredness , drowsiness and poor productivity. But in addition, a sequence of sleepless nights can cause a disease known as atherosclerosis .
So says the study published on January 14, 2019 in the Journal American College of Cardiology .
According to the researchers, sleeping less than six hours or waking up frequently during the night increases the risk of developing fatty plaques in the body’s arteries – atherosclerosis is considered a dangerous disease because it increases the risks of heart attack and stroke.
The study carried out in Madrid, Spain, brought together about 4,000 men and women, with an average age of 46 years, and who had no history of heart disease.
People were divided into four groups, according to sleep habits: those who slept less than six hours; from six to seven hours; between seven and eight hours; and those who slept more than eight hours a night.
Through a device that measures the time and quality of sleep, it was observed the frequency with which each person woke up and moved during the phases of sleep. In addition, each participant underwent a cardiac tomography and a 3D ultrasound of the heart at the beginning and at the end of the study.
Finally, the researchers found that individuals who slept less than six hours a night were 27% more likely to have atherosclerosis than those who slept seven to eight hours daily.
And participants with poor sleep quality, that is, those who woke up during the night or had difficulty sleeping, were 34% more likely to suffer from the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries, than those who slept well.
The study also showed that sleep quality is associated with the onset of atherosclerosis throughout the body, not just in the heart.
Atherosclerosis is characterized by the formation of fatty plaques and fibrous tissue on the internal walls of the arteries. It is the main cause of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease.
Able to affect any artery in the body, the condition starts during childhood / youth and worsens over time.
It is asymptomatic during most of its development and is often only discovered after the appearance of some complication.
In addition, men are at a greater risk of suffering from the problem than women. However, after menopause , the risk for women is equal to that for men.
Also known as “hardening of the arteries”, the disease brings serious complications since the content of the plaques can loosen and form a thrombus (clot) in the bloodstream, which can obstruct the passage of blood in smaller caliber arteries. As a result, organs and tissues stop receiving oxygen and can die (necrosis).
Also read: Change habits and find out how to sleep well
Sleeping poorly can affect your appetite, mood and willingness to exercise, triggering many other health problems. Serious heart problems, poor blood circulation, digestive problems and even strokes can also be caused by lack of sleep.