Heart disease: increased risk of lack of sleep

Heart disease: increased risk of lack of sleep

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Socially disadvantaged people are more likely to have trouble sleeping

Insufficient sleep seems to be one of the main reasons why socially disadvantaged groups are more likely to develop heart disease.

The latest study by the University Center of General Medicine and Public Health (Unisanté) in Switzerland has now found that people with a lower socioeconomic status are less likely to suffer from poor sleep than heart disease. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Cardiovascular Research".

Too little sleep favors heart disease

Socially disadvantaged people are more likely to suffer from heart disease. The new investigation was now trying to determine the reason for this connection. It turned out that too little sleep is an important factor in increasing the risk of heart disease.

Possible reasons for sleep problems

People with lower socioeconomic status sleep poorly or simply less for a variety of reasons. Affected persons work more often in multiple jobs, are shift workers, live in a noisy environment and are exposed to greater emotional and financial stress.

Little sleep from work increases risk of heart disease

The current study was the first large population-based study to investigate whether lack of sleep could at least partially explain why poorer people are more often affected by heart disease. It was found that in 13.4 percent of all men who do not get enough restful sleep due to work, they develop coronary artery disease.

Women are exposed to combined stress

Women with low socio-economic status often suffer from a combined physical and psychosocial burden due to poorly paid jobs, household responsibilities and stress. This negatively affects the sleep of women and the associated health-promoting effect compared to men.

How can sleep be improved?

The researchers conclude that structural reforms are needed at all levels of society so that people can get more sleep. For example, we should try to better protect people from noise. Noise is a very common source of disturbed sleep. Double-glazed windows, reduced traffic and no houses in the immediate vicinity of motorways and airports could help here.

Data from 111,205 people were evaluated

The current study was part of the so-called Lifepath project and bundled the data from eight cohort studies with a total of 111,205 participants from four European countries. The socio-economic status was classified as low, medium or high depending on the father's job and personal activity. A possible medical history of coronary heart disease and stroke was determined through clinical assessment, medical records and self-reports.

How much sleep is normal?

The participants reported the average length of sleep themselves and divided it into categories. Recommended or normal sleep is six to 8.5 hours, a short sleep is less than 6 hours and a long sleep is more than 8.5 hours.

How were the effects of sleep calculated?

The contribution of insufficient sleep to heart disease was examined using a statistical approach called mediation analysis. This analysis estimates the contribution of an intermediate factor (in this case, the duration of sleep) to a relationship between the main exposure (socioeconomic status) and the main outcome (coronary artery disease or stroke). (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Dusan Petrovic, José Haba-Rubio, Carlos de Mestral Vargas, Michelle Kelly-Irving, Paolo Vineis et al .: The contribution of sleep to social inequalities in cardiovascular disorders: a multi-cohort study, in Cardiovascular Research (query: 22.11.2019 ), Cardiovascular Research

Video: Less than six hours sleep per night may increase heart disease risk, study says (May 2022).