DURHAM, NC Researchers at Duke University Medical Center say they may have figured out why poor sleep does more harm to cardiovascular health in women than in men.
Their study, appearing online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, found that poor sleep is associated with greater psychological distress and higher levels of biomarkers associated with elevated risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They also found that these associations are significantly stronger in women than in men.
This is the first empirical evidence that supports what we have observed about the role of gender and its effects upon sleep and health, says Edward Suarez, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke and the lead author of the study. The study suggests that poor sleep measured by the total amount of sleep, the degree of awakening during the night, and most importantly, how long it takes to get to sleep may have more serious health consequences for women than for men.
Suarez says that while women are twice as likely as men to report problems with sleep, most sleep studies in the past have focused on men, a phenomenon that has been slowly changing in recent years.
Researchers studied 210 apparently healthy, middle-aged men and women without any history of sleep disorders. None smoked or took any medications on a daily basis and investigators excluded any women who were on hormone therapy, which has been shown in some studies to alter sleep patterns in some women.
Using a standardized sleep quality questionnaire, participants rated various dimensions of their sleep during the previous month. Additional measures assessed the extent of any depression, anger, hostility and perceived social support from friends and family.
Blood samples taken from the volunteers were measured for levels of biomarkers associated with increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, including i
|Contact: Michelle Gailiun|
Duke University Medical Center