How lack of sleep harms circulation

Scientists have long been aware of the relationship between insufficient sleep and poor cardiovascular health. However, exactly how the lack of adequate sleep can harm circulation has remained unclear. A new study now uncovers some of the potential mechanisms.

Having a good night’s sleep, which amounts to an uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep or so per night, is crucial to maintaining good overall health. Poor sleep hygiene disrupts both short- and long-term health, according to evidence from numerous studies.

One aspect of health that a person’s quality of sleep can influence is cardiovascular health. For example, research findings from the start of this year showed that sleeping for less than 6 hours per night rather than for 7–8 hours could increase a person’s risk of atherosclerosis — a condition in which plaque builds up inside the arteries — by as much as 27%.

Another study from this year explains how good sleep can help keep the arteries supple, thus maintaining good circulation.

Now, research from the University of Colorado Boulder has pinpointed a potential biological mechanism explaining the reverse of the medal — how lack of sleep affects circulation by promoting the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherogenesis), which can increase a person’s risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack.

The findings, which appear in the journal Experimental Physiology, tie sleeplessness to changes in the blood levels of micro RNA (miRNA), noncoding molecules that help regulate protein expression.

This study proposes a new potential mechanism through which sleep influences heart health and overall physiology.

Senior author Prof. Christopher DeSouza

Source: Medical News Today

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