The quality of sleep is directly associated with the health of the heart. Poor sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet all of the body’s energy needs. The symptoms are characteristic: shortness of breath on exertion or at rest, fatigue, excess fluids (especially in the ankles, with the formation of edemas). In the absence of treatment, the heart becomes increasingly tired, the fluids may s ‘accumulate in the lungs, organs are damaged (the liver and kidneys in particular): heart failure can lead to extremely serious consequences.

A series of risk factors are identified, such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, excess cholesterol… and also, poor sleep. An American team (Tulane University) examined data on some 400,000 adults (37 to 73 years old) without initial heart failure and followed them for many years. Sleep parameters were assessed at regular intervals, and this information was crossed with heart failure diagnoses.

The results show first that compared to very disturbed nights, excellent quality sleep is associated with a 42% reduced risk of developing heart failure, regardless of other risk factors.

  • the risk is reduced by 8% in people who get up early
  • 12% in those who sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day
  • 17% in the absence of signs of insomnia (difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal awakenings, etc.)
  • and 34% when there is no daytime sleepiness

And so, a very favorable overall score halves the risk compared to a very unfavorable score. In fact, in the event of sleep disorders, it is essential to speak with a doctor in order to consider possible treatment options: these difficulties can reflect or cause real health problems.

Elena Mars

Elena writes part-time for the Scientific Origin, focusing mostly on health-related issues.