With work, we sometimes sleep less and we rely on the weekend to catch up on our sleep debt. But in reality, it would be nothing! In any case, this is revealed by a new American study, which shows that this lack of sleep leads to cardiovascular risks that cannot be corrected, even by sleeping more on weekends.
People who work a lot sometimes count their hours of sleep on the fingers of one hand and hope to catch up on this debt of sleep at the weekend, to compensate. But this attitude is not the right one, according to the conclusions of an American study.
A sleep of 10 hours a night at the start, then half as much afterwards
For this work, experts assembled a small cohort of 15 healthy men between the ages of 20 and 35 to take part in an 11-day inpatient sleep study. For the first three nights, participants were allowed to sleep up to 10 hours per night to achieve baseline sleep levels.
For the next five nights, participants’ sleep was limited to five hours per night, followed by two recovery nights, in which they were again allowed to sleep for up to 10 hours per night.
To assess the effects of this kind of sleep on cardiovascular health, the researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure and resting heart rate every two hours during the day.
Increased heart rate and blood pressure at the end of the study
Result: the team of researchers found that the heart rate increased by nearly one beat per minute (BPM) every day. Specifically, the average baseline heart rate was 69 BPM, while the average heart rate at the end of the study, the second day of recovery from sleep, was nearly 78 BPM.
Systolic blood pressure also increased by about 0.5 millimeters of mercury per day. Mean baseline systolic blood pressure was 116 mmHg and was nearly 119.5 mmHg at the end of the recovery period.
“Heart rate and systolic blood pressure increased gradually each day and did not return to baseline levels at the end of the recovery period.” explains David Reichenberger, lead author of the study. “So, despite additional opportunities for rest, by the end of the study weekend, their cardiovascular systems had still not recovered.“.
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Sleep, essential to preserve for your health
According to Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, co-author of the study, “in the United States, only 65% of adults regularly get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, and there is considerable evidence to suggest that this lack of sleep is associated with long-term cardiovascular disease”.
For the scientist, sleep is therefore “a biological process, which affects our cardiovascular health, but which also affects our weight, our mental health, our ability to concentrate and our ability to maintain healthy relationships with others, among other things”.
The results of this study are for her the way to learn about it “more and more about the importance of sleep and its impact on our lives“. She hopes that a good sleep “will become more of a real goal to improve your health”.