New Research Suggests Link Between Poor Sleep and Atrial Fibrillation

Sleep heart health study results

Sleep problems including sleeping too little or too long, along with sleep disorders such as breathing irregularities and insomnia may be linked to a variety of factors that may raise the risk for cardiovascular diseases, according to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) first statement on sleep and heart health, issued on September 19, 2016 and published in their journal “Circulation.”

Further delving into the relationship between sleep and heart health, data was presented by researchers from University of California, San Francisco during AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2016, held November 12 – 16 in New Orleans, revealing a possible link between disruptions in sleep and the risk of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF).

Sleep Review Magazine provided a great summary of the researchers findings, first noting that while obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a known risk for atrial fibrillation, the relationship between disrupted sleep and atrial fibrillation without OSA is unclear.

As reported by Sleep Review, key takeaways from the research include:

  • disrupted sleep, including insomnia, may be independently associated with atrial fibrillation
  • people who reported frequent night-time awakening had about a 26% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those who didn’t wake up a lot; and
  • people diagnosed with insomnia had a 29% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those without insomnia.

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Protect your heart. Get a good night’s sleep.

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