How Lack of Sleep Can Damage Your Heart


It is well known throughout the medical community that depriving oneself from sleep can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity; however, recently two studies have come out that uncover more consequences to not allotting yourself a good night’s rest.
One study was published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine and the second in the journal Scientific Reports.
One report stated that those who lack sleep are more likely to participate in unhealthy heart behaviors. It was found that found that people who sleep six hours or less were 45% more likely to smoke tobacco than those who slept for than 7 hours a night.  Many studies have shown a connection between poor sleeping habits and obesity, but up until now none have shown a link between lack of sleep and smoking.
Additionally, people who called themselves ‘night owls’ reported to be more sedentary and eat less fruits and vegetables.
The second study discovered that even if a person had healthy eating habits, exercised and didn’t smoke, lack of sleep still raised their bad cholesterol. This is one of the first studies that showed exactly how lack of sleep influenced cholesterol levels.
Vilma Aho, co author of the study and sleep researcher in the Tarja Porkka- Heiskanen lab stated, “the study established that the genes that participate in the regulation of cholesterol transport are less active in persons suffering from sleep lost than with those getting sufficient sleep.”
It was found that people who did not get enough sleep had a 10% decrease in HDL aka “good cholesterol” than people who received an adequate amount of sleep. Furthermore, it was shown that in only one week of poor sleep the body’s immune system and metabolism are affected.
Vilma Aho continues and says that “in the long run, if the sleep loss becomes chronic, cholesterol metabolism seems to shift to an unfavorable direction, which may increase the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.”