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Another Downside to Insomnia

In addition to fatigue, irritability and stress, a study has determined that insomnia may be associated with an elevation in nighttime blood pressure — a factor that could lead to cardiac disease.

The investigation, which measured the 24-hour blood pressure of insomniacs compared to sound sleepers, was conducted by researchers from the Université de Montréal and affiliates.

“Over many years, chronic insomnia can have negative effects on the hearts of otherwise healthy individuals,” says lead author Paola A. Lanfranchi, a professor in the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Sleep Disorders Centre.

“Whereas blood pressure decreases in regular sleepers and gives their heart a rest, insomnia provokes higher nighttime blood pressure that can cause long-term cardiovascular risks and damage the heart.”

The findings are important given that insomnia, which is a chronic difficulty falling or staying asleep, affects up to 48 percent of the population at some point in their lives.

As part of the study, the scientific team recruited 13 otherwise healthy chronic insomniacs and 13 good sleepers. Subjects spent 40 hours in the sleep laboratory: two nights for adaptation and one for monitoring followed by the intervening day.

“Blood pressure cycles are mainly linked to the sleep-wake cycle,” says co author Jacques Montplaisir, a professor in the Université de Montréal Department of Psychiatry and director of Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Disorders Center.

“Since blood pressure is heightened among insomniacs, those with overt cardiac disease are particularly at risk for progression of the disease.”

Source: University of Montreal

Another Downside to Insomnia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Another Downside to Insomnia. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/09/08/another-downside-to-insomnia/8214.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jul 2016
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