Chronic insomnia may increase your risk of heart attack, according to a new study by Norwegian researchers.
The researchers asked more than 52,000 men and women to complete questionnaires that asked, among other health questions, how often they had trouble falling asleep, how often they woke up and were unable to get back to sleep and how often they awoke with the feeling that they had slept poorly, the New York Times reported this week. The study followed its subjects for more than 11 years.
The researchers found that, after adjusting for various health and lifestyle factors, the subjects who reported having symptoms of insomnia had a 45 percent increased relative risk of heart attack.
“People with problems staying asleep had a 30 percent increased risk, and those who woke up tired a 27 percent increase,” the Times reported. The results were consistent, even among those who were free of other chronic disorders at the beginning of the study. The researchers did not control for obstructive sleep apnea, which is known to be associated with heart disease, but they did control for body mass index and blood pressure, two other factors that are known to correlate with cardiovascular illness.
“This is just one study,” the report’s lead author, Dr. Lars E. Laugsand of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, told the Times, “and more are needed to try to explain the mechanisms behind these associations, which are unclear.”
The report was published online Oct. 24 in the journal Circulation.
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