The biology of sleep


sleepbabyAfter a long day at work or a long day of doing fun activities, we all need those 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is the most important biological recovery agent for the human body which will require it and demand it forcefully from us should we happen to forget it or to postpone it. In theory sleep takes about a third of our entire lifetime. However, there is an increasing number of reports from several countries around the world showing a sharp spike in the number of people who cannot get their daily allowance of sleep even if they tried, which is a condition we commonly call insomnia.

Previous research showed a myriad of ways in which insomnia can affect our overall health, but when it comes to its effects on heart disease and strokes, the results have been inconclusive at best. This is a why a new research has been conducted in Shenyang, by a Master’s degree student at the China Medical University that looks specifically at insomnia and heart disease to try to find a solid link, which it did.

The study looked at sleep patterns and overall health data collected over 29,6 years from over 160 thousand people. The results showed that difficulty in falling asleep was the most significant sleep related cause of cardiovascular complications including strokes with a probability of 27 percent. Difficulty in maintaining sleep or in sleeping enough accounted for lower probabilities of 11 and 18 percent respectively.

While the results do not explain the workings of these concordances, they are still conclusive and not surprising due to what previous research into insomnia has shown. Insomnia can raise blood pressure and boost risks of inflammation which are two factors closely related to heart problems.

The research concludes by saying that the risks of insomnia are something that needs to be understood by the public and that anyone suffering from the symptoms of the condition should be encouraged to seek help as this can be quite preventive.