How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart, According to Scientists


Sleep is essential to a healthy body, especially to healthy heart. People who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, regardless of their age, weight, diet and lifestyle habits.

In a new study led by Dr. Daniel Kuetting of the University of Bonn in Germany, it was found how extreme fatigue affects many physical, cognitive and emotional processes especially for people who are working in a 24 hour shifts.

"For the first time, we have shown that short-term sleep deprivation in the context of 24-hour shifts can lead to a significant increase in cardiac contractility, blood pressure and heart rate," said Dr. Kuetting.

During the study, the participants who were composed of 20 radiologists with 19 men and 1 woman had their hearts checked before their 24 hour shift. All of them only had 3 hours of sleep. After this, the volunteers were found an increased strain on their hearts. The organ was also found to be working 10% harder than it would under a regular sleep.

"The study was designed to investigate real-life work-related sleep deprivation," added Dr Kuetting.

"As people continue to work longer hours or work at more than one job to make ends meet, it is critical to investigate the detrimental effects of too much work and not enough sleep."

Dr. Kuetting said that this specific study can be useful and helpful to the public especially to those who have increased work load and longer shift durations.

Even in the past, the lack of sleep has been associated with slower metabolism and increased levels of cortisol which are known to cause hypertension and higher risk of stroke. Too much sleep though is also not advised because it can lead to early death. Like what most professional health care experts would recommend, just an average of 8 hours of sleep will do.

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