According to a study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a lower risk of heart failure—regardless of other risk factors—compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns. The evidence indicates that sleep problems may play a role in the development of heart failure, which affects more than 26 million people.
The study examined the relationship between healthy sleep patterns and heart failure by analyzing data on 408,802 UK Biobank participants, ages 37 to 73, from 2006 to 2010. Incidence of heart failure was collected until April 1, 2019. The researchers recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years. In this case, healthy sleep patterns were defined as rising in the morning, sleeping seven to eight hours a day and experiencing no frequent insomnia, snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness.
After accounting for diabetes, hypertension, medication use, genetic variations and other issues, participants with the healthiest sleep patterns were found to have a 42% reduction in the risk of heart failure compared to those with an unhealthy sleep pattern.
The researchers also found that risk of heart failure was:
- 8% lower in early risers
- 12% lower in those who slept seven to eight hours daily
- 17% lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia
- 34% lower in those reporting no daytime sleepiness
The participant's sleep behaviors were self-reported, and the report notes that other unmeasured or unknown adjustments may have also influenced the findings.