Restful Sleep Could Help Ward Off Heart Failure

The researchers gave each person a “healthy sleep score” of 0 to 5, based on the number of healthy habits they reported.

Over about a decade, 5,221 study participants were diagnosed with heart failure – a chronic disease where the heart muscle can no longer pump efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs.

Overall, the Qi team found that people who reported all five healthy sleep patterns were 42% less likely to have heart failure than people who reported none or just one.

Of course, “good” sleepers can also be generally health conscious. Thus, the Qi team represented


, diet,


and drinking habits, as well as medical conditions like



arterial hypertension

. They also took into account people’s education level and household income.

And healthy sleep has been linked to a lower risk of heart failure.

The results were published online Nov. 16 in the journal



Dr Roneil Malkani is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.

He agreed that the results might reflect the effects of undiagnosed sleep apnea. It is also possible that early heart problems caused some sleep-related symptoms.

“Daytime sleepiness could be a symptom of deteriorating heart health,” Malkani said.

Of the five sleep behaviors, he noted, lack of daytime sleepiness was linked to the greatest reduction in the risk of heart failure.

That said, Malkani pointed to previous research showing similar trends: Poor quality of sleep – whether defined as sleep apnea, excessive sleep, or not enough sleep – has been linked to greater risks for the patient. health and shorter lifespan.

He said the “novelty” of this study is that it uses a simple and straightforward way to assess healthy sleep.

According to Qi, his message is just as simple. “Seven to eight hours of sleep is better than five or six,” he says.

What if people have problems with


, snoring or daytime sleepiness, Qi added, they should talk to their doctor.

More information


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has more on

healthy sleep.

SOURCES: Lu Qi, MD, PhD, professor, epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans; Nieca Goldberg, MD, cardiologist, medical director, Joan Tisch Center for Women’s Health, NYU Langone Health, New York City; Roneil Malkani, MD, assistant professor, neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago; Circulation, November 16, 2020, online

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