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Insomnia Can Trigger Cardiac Problems

September 23rd 2009

People who experience insomnia have heightened levels of nighttime blood pressure, which can result in cardiac problems.
By David Fisher

People who experience insomnia have heightened levels of nighttime blood pressure, which can result in cardiac problems, according to a new study.

Scientists at the Universite de Montreal and the Hopital du Sacre Coeur studied insomniacs and good sleepers for 40 hours.

“Over many years, chronic insomnia can have negative effects on the hearts of otherwise healthy individuals," said lead author Paola A. Lanfranchi, a professor in the Universite de Montreal Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal Sleep Disorders Centre, according to a report by Health & Medicine Week. “Whereas blood pressure decreases in regular sleepers and gives their heart a rest, insomnia provokes higher nighttime blood pressure that can cause long-term cardiovascular risks and damage the heart.”

The findings are important because insomnia, the chronic difficulty to fall or stay asleep afflicts nearly half of the worldwide population, according to the report.

“Blood pressure cycles are mainly linked to the sleep-wake cycle,” said co-author Jacques Montplaisir, a professor in the Universite de Montreal Department of Psychiatry and director of Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal Disorders Centre, according to NewsRx Health. “Since blood pressure is heightened among insomniacs, those with overt cardiac disease are particularly at risk for progression of the disease.”