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There is no denying that having a good night’s sleep is important. Apart from giving you enough time to relax, healthy sleep also promotes good mental health. While maintaining a good sleeping pattern helps you concentrate, a recent study has pointed out an additional benefit of a good night’s sleep.
The study suggests that adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a 42% lower risk of heart failure, regardless of other risk factors, as compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns. Heart failure affects more than 26 million people, and emerging evidence indicates sleep problems may play a role in the development of heart failure.
The research was recently published in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation. Healthy sleep patterns are rising in the morning, sleeping 7-8 hours a day and having no frequent insomnia, snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness.
This observational study examined the relationship between healthy sleep patterns and heart failure and included data on 408,802 UK Biobank participants, ages 37 to 73 at the time of recruitment (2006-2010). The incidence of heart failure was collected until April 1, 2019. Researchers recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years.
Researchers analyzed sleep quality as well as overall sleep patterns. The measures of sleep quality included sleep duration, insomnia and snoring and other sleep-related features, such as whether the participant was an early bird or night owl and if they had any daytime sleepiness.
“The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scoring of these five sleep behaviours,” said Lu Qi, M.D., PhD, 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.”
Sleep behaviours were collected through touchscreen questionnaires. Sleep duration was defined into three groups: short, or less than 7 hours a day; recommended, or 7 to 8 hours a day; and prolonged, or 9 hours or more a day.
After adjusting for diabetes, hypertension, medication use, genetic variations and other covariates, participants with the healthiest sleep pattern had a 42% reduction in the risk of heart failure compared to people with an unhealthy sleep pattern.
They also found the risk of heart failure was reduced by eight per cent in early risers, 12% lower in those who slept 7 to 8 hours daily, 17% lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia, and 34% lower in those reporting no daytime sleepiness.
Participant sleep behaviours were self-reported, and the information on changes in sleep behaviours during follow-up was not available. The researchers noted other unmeasured or unknown adjustments may have also influenced the findings.