Study Finds that Bad Sleep Is a Big Heart Disease Risk Factor

Study Finds that Bad Sleep Is a Big Heart Disease Risk Factor

According to a new study by a group of Columbia University researchers, sleep is vital if you wish to decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The team evaluated the recently expanded metric by the American Heart Association, which now also includes sleep as a potential cause of heart issues.

The study was published in Journal of the American Heart Association and proves that sleep does indeed play a significant role as far as heart health is concerned.

Nour Makarem, the lead author, explained that “Our results show that sleep health’s integral to heart health, and an expanded definition of cardiovascular health that includes sleep is more predictive of any future heart disease risk. Our study supports including sleep as the novel 8th metric of cardiovascular health.”

The study’s author also mentioned that this is the first examination that added sleep as the eighth metric of cardiovascular health to the original Life’s Simple 7 metrics which is a checklist took meant to assess one’s cardiovascular illness risk.

The metric suggests that adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every day for optimal cardiovascular health.

The research involved 2,000 adults from the MESA, a U.S. cardiovascular disease study.

All of them had to provide data on the characteristics of their sleep habits, as per the Columbia University news release.

“Our results highlight the importance of embracing a more holistic vision of sleep health.”

The scores looked at several dimensions of sleep including duration, regularity, efficiency, sleep disorders and tiredness during the day.

The researchers found that these elements were closely related to cardiovascular disease.

As it turns out, sleeping for at least 7 hours every night but no more than 9 hours, is ideal for one’s health.

In the Columbia news release, Makarem explained that “Our results show that sleep is an integral component of CVH. In the study, even a CVH score that includes just sleep duration, the most widely measured aspect of sleep health and most feasible measure to get in a clinic or public health setting, predicted CVD incidence. Notably, we found that a CVH score that incorporated multiple dimensions of sleep health was significantly associated with incident CVD as well.”

She went on to share that “Sleep seems to be the very first thing people squeeze out of their schedules when they’re busy. However, the first step to healthy sleep is making time for sleep.”

As it turns out, multiple unhealthy sleep patterns can happen at the same time, interacting and increasing the risk of heart disease.

All in all, the team says that sleep’s effects on cardiovascular health are often disregarded which is why they hope this new study will change this.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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