Sleep Duration Crucial Factor in Subclinical Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Health

A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicated that sleep duration plays a significant role in their overall cardiovascular health.

The researchers performed seven-day actigraphic recording of 3,974 middle-age participants (62.6% men) from the Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis (PESA) study. The participants were assigned to one of four groups for very short sleep duration (<6 hours), short sleep duration (6 to 7 hours), reference sleep duration (7 to 8 hours), and long sleep duration (>8 hours). They used 3-D vascular ultrasound and cardiac computed tomography to quantify noncoronary atherosclerosis and coronary calcification.

The results indicated that when adjusted for risk factors, very short sleep duration was independently associated with higher atherosclerotic burden compared to the reference group (P=0.008). Those in the highest quartiles of sleep fragmentation had a higher prevalence of multiple affected noncoronary territories (P=0.006).

“We saw that the participants that slept less than 6 hours per day or had a very fragmented sleep presented more cholesterol plaques compared to those who slept more hours or had less fragmented sleep,” lead author Fernando Domínguez, MD, concluded in a press release. “Sleep duration and quality are of vital importance in cardiovascular health.”

Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, and Daniel J. Gottlieb, MD, noted in an accompanying editorial that the research team had, using well-validated methods and techniques, addressed some  limitations of observational studies from more than 5 decades worth of research on sleep duration and obesity, hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and death.

Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology