Poor sleep is tied to increased subclinical atherosclerosis risk

  • Domínguez F & al.
  • J Am Coll Cardiol
  • 22 Jan 2019

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Sleeping for short periods or in fragmented bits increases risk for subclinical atherosclerosis in middle-aged people. 

Why this matters

  • This study ties sleep duration and quality directly to risk.
  • Editorial notes the link with an objective finding as an important result but says the study still “sheds little light” on mechanisms.

Key results

  • Higher atherosclerotic burden was seen with very short sleep:
    • OR, 1.27 (95% CI, 1.06-1.52; P=.008).
  • Fragmented sleep (highest quintile) enhanced risk for multiple affected areas:
    • OR, 1.34 (95% CI, 1.09-1.64; P=.006).
  • 10- and 30-year Framingham risk scores were higher with very short or short sleep durations.
  • Coronary artery calcification scores did not associate with sleep pattern.
  • Respondents with very short sleep durations tended to have higher daily alcohol and caffeine intakes.
  • Participants tended to overestimate sleep duration in self-report vs accelerometer findings.

Study design

  • 3974 participants (4 groups: very short sleep,
  • Carotid, femoral 3D ultrasound, cardiac CT performed.
  • Funding: Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Spain; others.

Limitations

  • Homogeneous population, middle-aged participants only.

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