Sleeping well? Insomnia may cause heart disease
Have trouble falling asleep?

A large new study says insomnia may be related to at least one form of heart disease.

According to a report published in the latest issue of the European Heart Journal, people who suffered with multiple insomnia symptoms were three times more likely to develop heart failure. Heart failure is caused by a weakened heart muscle which can no longer pump blood sufficiently through the body.

The scientists focused on three key symptoms of insomnia. According to lead researcher, Dr Lars Laugsand, from the Department of Public Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim, Norway, a substantial increase in heart failure involved the presence of all three indicators.

"We related heart failure risk to three major insomnia symptoms including trouble falling asleep, problems staying asleep, and not waking up feeling refreshed in the morning. In our study, we found that persons suffering from insomnia have increased risk of having heart failure. Those reporting suffering from all three insomnia symptoms simultaneously were at considerably higher risk than those who had no symptoms or only one or two symptoms," says Laugsand.

The study results were arrived at by reviewing the health surveys of 54,279 people ranging in age from 20 to 89 over an 11 year period.

The research was not able to conclude whether the insomnia itself, or other factors associated with sleep problems such as stress, were the underlying cause of the increased risk for heart failure.

The scientists concluded that compromising only some aspects of sleep could be off set by other factors, saying: “Having difficulty falling asleep might be compensated for by a satisfactory depth and a good continuity of sleep. However, if the initiation of sleep is poor and combined with repeated awakenings and superficial sleep, there may not be any compensatory mechanisms.”

The report added yet further evidence that proper rest and sleep is essential for good health.