tired womanA new study suggests sleep deprivation places women at higher risk for health problems than men.

Researchers at Warwick Medical School looked at men and women sleeping less than or equal to 5 hours a night to see if their risk of having hypertension was greater than those who obtain the recommended 7 hours or more of sleep a night.

The researchers found that women in the study group who slept less than or equal to 5 hours a night were twice as likely to suffer from hypertension as women who slept for the more recommended seven hours or more a night.

The study found no difference between men sleeping less than 5 hours and those sleeping 7 hours or more.

Some previous studies have indicated that sleep deprivation is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension. However that research was based on self-reported diagnosis of hypertension, and had no gender-specific analysis.

The University of Warwick led research team looked at data from “The Whitehall II Cohort” which studied volunteers from 20 London-based civil service departments. There were a total of 6,592 participants (4,199 men and 1,567 women).

The Warwick team defined hypertension as blood pressure equal to or higher than 140/90 mm Hg or if the subject made regular use of antihypertensive medications.

Francesco Cappuccio, from the University of Warwick’s Warwick Medical School, led the research. He said that women sleeping less than 5 hours a night should try to get more sleep. “Sustained sleep curtailment, ensuing excessive daytime sleepiness, and the higher cardiovascular risk are causes for concern. Emerging evidence also suggests a potential role for sleep deprivation as a predictor or risk factor for conditions like obesity and diabetes.”

Source: University of Warwick