New research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children’s Hospital shows that chronic sleep loss increases pain sensitivity. It suggests that chronic pain sufferers can get relief by getting more sleep, or, short of that, taking medications to promote wakefulness such as caffeine. Both approaches performed better than standard analgesics in a rigorous study in mice, described in the May 8, 2017 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
A good night’s sleep can increase the benefit of exercise, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking in their protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to results of a large population follow-up study.(1) Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) and a 67% lower risk of fatal events.(2) But, when “sufficient sleep” (defined as seven or more hours a night) was added to the other four lifestyle factors, the overall protective benefit was even further increased — and resulted in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and a 83% lower risk of fatal events.
“If all participants adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors, 36% of composite CVD and 57% of fatal CVD could theoretically be prevented or postponed,” the authors report. “The public health impact of sufficient sleep duration, in addition to the traditional healthy lifestyle factors, could be substantial.”
The study is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, and is the first to investigate whether the addition of sleep duration to the four traditional healthy lifestyle factors contributes to an association with CVD.
The Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN) is a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands from which 6672 men and 7967 women aged 20-65 years and free of CVD at baseline were followed up for a mean time of 12 years. Details of physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and sleep duration were recorded between 1993 and 1997, and the subjects followed-up through a cross-link to national hospital and mortality registers.
As expected, results showed that adherence to each of the four traditional lifestyle factors alone reduced the risk of CVD. Those at baseline who recorded sufficient physical activity, a healthy diet and moderate alcohol consumption reduced their risk of composite CVD from 12% for a healthy diet to 43% for not smoking; and risk reduction in fatal CVD ranged from 26% for being physically active to 43% for not smoking.
However, sufficient sleep duration alone also reduced the risk of composite CVD by about 22% (HR 0.78) and of fatal CVD by about 43% (HR 0.57) when compared with those having insufficient sleep. Thus, non-smoking and sufficient sleep duration were both strongly and similarly inversely associated with fatal CVD.
These benefits were even greater when all five lifestyle factors were observed, resulting in a in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and an 83% lower risk of fatal CVD.
As background to the study, the investigators note that poor sleep duration has been proposed as an independent risk factor for CVD in two other (non-European) studies, but without adding the effect of sleep to other healthy lifestyle benefits. This study — in a large population — now suggests that sufficient sleep and adherence to all four traditional healthy lifestyle factors are associated with a lower CVD risk. When sufficient sleep duration is added to the traditional lifestyle factors, the risk of CVD is even further reduced.
As an explanation for the results, the investigators note that short sleep duration has been associated with a higher incidence of overweight, obesity and hypertension and with higher levels of blood pressure, total cholesterol, haemoglobin A, and triglycerides, effects which are “consistent with the hypothesis that short sleep duration is directly associated with CVD risk.”
The study’s principal investigator, Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, said that the importance of sufficient sleep “should now be mentioned as an additional way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.” “It is always important to confirm results,” she added, “but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of CVD risk factors.”
Dr Verschuren noted that seven hours is the average sleeping time that “is likely to be sufficient for most people.” An earlier study from her group in the Netherlands, which included information on sleep quality, found that those who slept less than seven hours and got up each morning not fully rested had a 63% higher risk of CVD than those sleeping sufficiently — although those who woke rested, even from less than seven hours’ sleep, did not have the increased risk.(3)
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
- Hoevenaar-Blom M, Spijkerman AMW, Kromhout D, Verschuren WMM. Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/2047487313493057
- Sleep May Play Important Role in Heart Health (medicalnewstoday.com)
- A good night’s sleep increases the cardiovascular benefits of a healthy lifestyle (eurekalert.org)
- A good night’s sleep increases the cardiovascular benefits of a healthy lifestyle (medicalxpress.com)
- Help the heart by sleeping at least 7 hours a night (express.co.uk)
- Good night’s sleep ‘protects heart’ (bbc.co.uk)
Another slow day. The 3 walking events from last weekend were just too much for now. In all three instances, they involved parking garages and it was cold. I remember the visiting nurse saying to put a scarf over his nose to keep the air coming in a bit warmer but, of course, we didn’t have a scarf.
Someone had asked DH to meet at iHop tonight. I weighed in and said that they should meet at Bob Evans because we knew that there was something there he could eat and we had no idea if there was anything at iHop.
The day slipped by in naps and DH never made the call. His phone was off and he finally got the message that the person had been waiting for 30 minutes at iHop. <sigh>
The dog got to go for a ride when we dropped DH off.
Fortunately, DH got a ride home so we didn’t have to go back out. He said that I was right (of course!) – there wasn’t anything on the menu he could eat. But he managed to cobble together something with fresh fruit, dry toast and herbal tea. I thought the only fruit there was in those syrups.
We had snow, sort of. Big, heavy stuff that would have been good for a snowman but we weren’t going out, except for me walking the dog.
I was having a movie kind of day and heard someone out in the driveway, shoveling. I went out to investigate and found two women from church clearing our driveway. That was so nice 🙂 In a bit DH came out and said hello, too.
Thursday, I was into day 2 of an itchy cycle. I haven’t written about that yet, so there’s something to look forward to! As a result, I don’t do much of anything but itch and be miserable. At night, I can take Benadryl which helps the itching and makes me sleep.
More on that later!
Fridays, I normally play piano duets with an older friend but I hadn’t been since before Christmas. I decided it was time to go back so I took DH along with me. We all had a nice visit – we’ve known my friend and her husband for maybe 35 years. She had a heart attack about 15 or so years ago so DH was able to ask lots of questions.
When we got back, it was nap time, again. It’s still mostly do something followed by an equal length nap but it’s getting better.
I had been awake until 4:30 am so I wasn’t in a great mood when I woke up. DH wanted to go walking at the Mall – but first, a stop at Staples for more business cards.
I was already tired before we got to the Mall but we walked a bit. Stopped in the Apple Store to look at iPad Minis, then turned around. He went into Zales to get the ruby he didn’t get on the first day, the anniversary-heart-attack-day.
On the way out of the mall, he said we could go to Bob Evans for breakfast and I said no way! Too tired.
Back to Staples to pick up the cards from Staples, then on to walk around Wal-Mart. DH looked longingly at no-salt peanuts. I showed him the back with the calorie counts and pointed out the size of 1 serving and asked if he could stick to that. He put them back.
Back home and more nap time.
He says he’s feeling better and better, has lost more weight, no more pain killers. Hooray!