Insomnia is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
“Sleep is important for biological recovery and takes around a third of our lifetime, but in modern society more and more people complain of insomnia,” said first author Qiao He, a Master’s degree student at China Medical University, Shenyang, China. “For example, it is reported that approximately one-third of the general population in Germany has suffered from insomnia symptoms.”
“Researchers have found associations between insomnia and poor health outcomes,” continued Miss He. “But the links between insomnia and heart disease or stroke have been inconsistent.”
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The current meta-analysis assessed the association between insomnia symptoms and incidence or death from cardiovascular disease (acute myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, heart failure), stroke, or a combination of events. Insomnia symptoms included difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, early-morning awakening, and non-restorative sleep.
The authors analysed 15 prospective cohort studies with a total of 160 867 participants. During a median follow-up of three to 29.6 years, there were 11 702 adverse events.
There were significant associations between difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and non-restorative sleep and the risk of heart disease and stroke, with increased relative risks of 1.27, 1.11, and 1.18, respectively, compared to those not experiencing these insomnia symptoms. There was no association between early-morning awakening and adverse events.