Sleep and Heart Disease

Thirteen to forty-four percent of patients with coronary heart disease report comorbid insomnia and population studies have shown that chronic sleep disturbance is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Most researchers believe that insomnia is linked to cardiovascular health in two different ways: (1) directly, through physical changes and (2) indirectly, through behavioral factors. Physical changes include increased blood pressure, appetite, inflammation, and other bodily stress reactions. Common behavioral factors are low mood, low motivation, and cognitive difficulties that can negatively impact decision-making about healthy behaviors.

Some sleep disturbance is a normal part of life. For example, child care, taking care of an acutely ill family member, and occasional stress-related insomnia are expected disturbances. Chronic sleep problems are those that occur most nights, or every night, for months to years.

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