Amount of Sleep Linked With Higher Risk of Stroke

A new study suggests that there is a large link between sleep routine and vulnerability to peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Published in the European Heart Journal on March 16, researchers found a significant association between insufficient sleep and a higher chance of developing PAD, a circulatory condition where blood vessels get narrowed down, diminishing proper blood flow into the limbs. The team says individuals who get less than five hours of sleep per night are 74% more likely to develop PAD, in contrast to those who get a healthy amount of sleep of around seven to eight hours each night.

Aside from inadequate sleep, too much napping during the day is also linked to coronary artery disease, another disease involving the destruction of the heart's vital blood vessels. The research team conducted the study to learn further how sleep and PAD are linked and to furnish knowledgeable information to prevent unhealthy habits.

The study utilized observational and Mendelian randomization (MR) methods to spot a link between inadequate sleep and PAD, involving more than 660,000 adults divided into two different steps.

To start, the research team analyzed the number of sleep hours each individual got every night on top of their napping throughout the day. Then, they used the participants' genetic variants to run the Mendelian randomization analysis to see how sleep was linked with an increased chance of developing PAD.

Mendelian randomization is a type of research that utilizes genetic variants among individuals to search for a causality link. The particular method gives researchers a definite answer by dividing genuine causality and trivial relationships.

During the second step, researchers used 53,416 Swedish adult participants and found that those who get less than five hours of sleep per night were almost twice as likely to develop PAD compared to those who got sufficient hours of sleep.

The findings imply that inadequate hours of sleep every night increases the risk of PAD, and PAD itself can result in insufficient sleep. The team also found that sleeping too much, longer than eight hours, was linked with a 24% growth in PAD development risk. However, getting too much or a more extended amount of sleep per night did not have causation with PAD. For napping during the day, the team found a 32% increased risk of developing PAD compared to those who don't nap.

"Our findings have potential clinical implications for diagnosis and management of both PAD and sleep disorders. We observed a bidirectional relationship between sleep duration and PAD, suggesting feed-forward mechanisms may accelerate both sets of diseases," says the study team.

"Similarly, our findings suggest that interventions to improve sleep may have downstream effects on PAD, and likewise, interventions to treat PAD may improve sleep. Although the optimal interventions for interrupting the sleep–PAD link is unknown, the American Heart Association has identified sleep research as an important priority for improving cardiometabolic health."

The research team says there is further research needed to find the link between inadequate sleep and PAD risk among other populations, as the study was largely built on European populations.

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