Insomnia isn’t just aggravating — it could be seriously harmful to your health.
People who have trouble sleeping may be at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, according to scientific findings published in the medical journal Neurology.
Dr. Angelo Landrisicna of the ABC News Medical Unit explains that researchers from China’s Peking University in Beijing followed 487,200 Chinese adults for a decade to examine the relationship between insomnia and cardiovascular health.
Participants were surveyed on their difficulty falling or maintaining sleep, as well as on their early morning awakening and “daytime dysfunction,” which is defined as difficulty concentrating because of poor sleep.
Researchers then tracked cardiovascular disease in the participants over the next 10 years using a national health registry.
Overall risk was 9% greater in those who had difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, 7% greater in those with early morning awakening, and 13% greater in those with daytime dysfunction. Furthermore, they found that these risks increased for those with a greater number of sleep symptoms.
“These results suggest that if we can target people who are having trouble sleeping with behavioral therapies, it’s possible that we could reduce the number of cases of stroke, heart attack and other diseases later down the line,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Liming Li, in a press release.
The researchers also noted that participants with insomnia symptoms were more likely to be older, female, diabetic, less educated, poorer and more likely to live in rural areas. They were also more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety.
While the study agrees with similar research performed in the United States and Europe, it represents the largest research into this issue to date.