Scientific studies have now linked insomnia with a host of other ailments including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension

Not getting enough sleep can lead to headaches, anger, drowsiness, loss of concentration and irritability, and in some cases, heart disease.

Myupchar August 22, 2019 17:57:50 IST
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Scientific studies have now linked insomnia with a host of other ailments including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension
  • Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in which a person finds it difficult to fall and stay asleep

  • Not getting enough sleep can lead to headaches, anger, drowsiness, loss of concentration and irritability, and in some cases, heart disease

  • Daily life stressors can lead to insomnia in some people also medical disorders like sinusitis, hyperthyroidism and gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause insomnia

People at high risk for insomnia — a sleep disorder — also tend to be at a higher risk for coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke, according to a new study by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Researchers at AHA evaluated about 1.3 million participants (with or without heart disease). They used genetic variants to identify people who could get insomnia.

Scientific studies have now linked insomnia with a host of other ailments including heart disease diabetes and hypertension

Representational Image. Reuters

Susanna Larsson, an associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in Sweden, and the lead author of the study said that understanding the underlying causes of insomnia and treating it could have wider health benefits.

The study by Larrson et al was published as 'Genetic Liability to Insomnia and Cardiovascular Disease', in Circulation — a peer-reviewed journal by AHA — on 19 August 2019.

Insomnia in India

In May 2017, a 28-day study with 390 patients in a tertiary hospital in Kolkata found that around 45% of adults in India have some form of insomnia.

The study — 'A Study on Prevalence of Chronic Insomnia and it’s Association with Medical Co-morbidities among Patients Attending General Out Patient Department (OPD) of a Tertiary Care Hospital of Kolkata, India', published in the International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research — also found correlations between heart disease and insomnia, diabetes and insomnia and hypertension and insomnia.

Currently, in India, 272 people per 100,000 die every year due to cardiovascular diseases, compared with the world average of 235 per 100,000. Understanding the causes of heart disease as well as multimorbidities could help doctors come up with smarter treatment options more quickly.

Multimorbidity is a medical term that indicates the coexistence of multiple health conditions, without privileging any one of them as the primary or causative disease. For example, if the same patient has diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease together, this is considered a multimorbidity.

Sleep and heart health

About 10-30% of the world’s population has insomnia. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in which a person finds it difficult to fall and stay asleep. They may also find it hard to go back to sleep if they wake up at any point during the night. For some insomniacs, their sleep duration may also become shorter.

Scientists have established that the body needs at least seven hours of sleep every day to stay healthy. Not getting enough sleep can lead to headaches, anger, drowsiness, loss of concentration and irritability, and in some cases, heart disease.

“Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management,” Larsson told the Circulation Journal Report in an interview.

Daily life stressors can lead to insomnia in some people. Thoughts can stick in your mind, making it impossible to sleep. Apart from these psychological reasons, medical disorders like sinusitis, hyperthyroidism and gastroesophageal reflux disease (in which the stomach acids enter the esophagus, and can cause discomfort) can also keep you awake night after night.

If you or a loved one have been struggling to get a full night’s rest for days and weeks, try some of these tips:

  • Fix a time to go to bed. Try getting 7-8 hours at least
  • Avoid having alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, especially at night
  • Do not nap during the day
  • Make your bed as comfortable as possible
  • Switch the lights off before you sleep
  • As much as possible, sleep away from noisy places
  • Do not eat or drink too much before sleeping
  • A little bit of daily exercise can also help
  • Do not use your phone just before sleeping
  • Try meditation and yoga to reduce stress

If you still find it difficult to sleep, visit a doctor.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more on this topic, please visit https://www.myupchar.com/en/disease/insomnia

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