If we already knew that poor sleep could impact our health, an Inserm team went further in analyzing what constitutes good or bad sleep. She underlined the importance of this against a particular risk, which concerns us all.
Good sleep often goes hand in hand with good health. The opposite is also true: poor quality sleep can put us at certain risks. And in particular the significant risk of developing cardiovascular pathologies. An Inserm team wanted to find out more: they identified five sleep habits that could significantly impact the risks of cardiovascular disease:
- The length of sleep each night;
- The chronotype (being morning or evening);
- The frequency of insomnia;
- Excessive daytime sleepiness;
- Sleep apnea.
Their results are published in the European Heart Journal.
Sleep quality approached differently and over time
To verify the scope of these components, the researchers based themselves on two French and Swiss panels: a Parisian panel of more than 10,000 adults aged 50 to 75 and a second made up of 6,733 participants over 35 years old via a study of the Vaudois University Hospital Center (CHUV), in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Each participant was assessed using a specific questionnaire (Pittsburgh sleep quality index-PSQI, Berlin questionnaire or Epworth Sleepiness Scale). 1 point was counted for each optimal component, 0 points otherwise. The overall score thus varied from 0 (worst score) to 5. The optimal score corresponding to: 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, being a morning person, not having insomnia, apnea or excessive sleepiness during the day .
In addition, the score was calculated two years and five years later, integrating a notion of monitoring over time. The occurrence of cardiovascular events was then monitored for approximately 8 to 10 years.
The more the quality of sleep increases, the lower the cardiovascular risk
At the start of the study as well as over time, the result of this study is clear: the higher the initial score, the lower the risk of cardiovascular accident. Compared to people who have a score of 0-1 the risk of cardiovascular pathologies is reduced by 10% for participants who have a score of 2, 19% for those who have a score of 3, 38% for a score of 4 and 63% for those with the best score of 5.
“The first lesson from this study is that good sleep on the 5 components studied has the capacity to reduce the risk of cardiovascular pathologies by more than 60%” nWe learn about Aboubakari Nambiema, first author of the study contacted by TipsForWomens.
The second lesson is that over time, the evolution of the sleep score (which concerned 8% of participants) makes it possible to act on the risk of occurrence of cardiovascular pathologies. Among people who improved their sleep, this risk decreased by 16% for each score point gained over time, regardless of which component of the score was improved. “Each one seems to be as important as the others”specify Aboubakari Nambiema.
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Raise public awareness of the importance of sleep.
What do these results mean in practice? Improving just one aspect of your sleep (duration, chronotype, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea) can have a considerable impact on your health.
“In terms of public health, this means that the population should be more aware of the paramount importance of preserving and improving their sleep habits. A good strategy could be to raise awareness among the population on this point from the beginning of life, when habits are not yet well established. The health system could also provide better access to screening and treatment of these sleeping illnesses.” hope Aboubakari Nambiema.
As a reminder, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).