Lake of sleep and disturbed sleep cycle increases the heart disease risk.
People working night shifts are compromising their heath to keep their livelihoods alive.
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It is already proven that getting too little sleep has bad effects on heart and the new research just reinforces the link between insufficient sleep and poor heart health. It suggests that shift workers in particular are at greater risk of heart disease.
“In humans, as in all mammals, almost all physiological and behavioral processes, in particular the sleep-wake cycle, follow a circadian rhythm that is regulated by an internal clock located in the brain,” explains lead author Dr. Daniela Grimaldi from Northwestern University in Chicago.
“When our sleep-wake and feeding cycles are not in tune with the rhythms dictated by our internal clock, circadian misalignment occurs.”
To determine the impact of disturbed circadian rhythm (a roughly 24 hour cycle) on cardiovascular function, researchers involved 26 healthy people aged 20 to 39. Participants were restricted to just five hours of sleep for each night. Half of participants slept during normal nighttime hours while the rest slept with around 8 hours of delay or during daytime for eight days. This is a typical shift workers schedule who do not have fixed sleep hours.
Researchers found that sleep restriction resulted in higher heart rate in all the participants during the day. An increase in the levels of stress hormone was also observed in those participants who slept during the day and had reduced heart rate variability at night when they wake.
Almost 22% of U.S. workforce are shift workers and these are the ones who suffer the most from sleep deprivation. Getting enough sleep at a specific time each night is necessary for the rejuvenation of the heart and for preventing heart from diseases.
“Our results suggest shift workers, who are chronically exposed to circadian misalignment, might not fully benefit from the restorative cardiovascular effects of nighttime sleep following a shift-work rotation,” said Grimaldi.
“In modern society, social opportunity and work demand has caused people to become more active during late evening leading to a shift from the predominantly daytime lifestyle to a more nocturnal one. Exposure to consecutive days of sleep loss can impair cardiovascular function and these negative effects might be enhanced when changes in feeding and/or sleep-wake habits lead to a circadian disruption.”
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To avoid heart disease, shift workers need to take a healthy diet. They should do regular exercise and try to get more sleep.