Enough sleep helps us live a healthy life
Now researchers claim to know why sleep deprivation can increase susceptibility to heart disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Physiology, frequent chronic short sleep is associated with an increased risk of blocked arteries, heart disease and increased morbidity and mortality.
Doctors also have identified patients who may need to change their sleep habits before they develop the disease.
In adults who regularly sleep less than 7 hours per night, the level of certain microRNAs is lower.
These molecules play a key role in regulating vascular health and their levels are now recognized as sensitive and specific biomarkers of heart health, inflammation and disease.
In other words, the lower levels of these molecules are associated with heart disease, so they can be used as biomarkers to determine who is more susceptible to disease.
The researchers tested middle-aged adults who were not active without heart disease, then they were asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to accurately estimate the average sleep each night and a small amount of blood taken from each subject after fasting overnight.
"The relationship between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease may be caused by, changes in microRNAs," said one study author, Jamie Hijmans, as quoted by the India Times page on Monday.
These findings suggest there may be "fingerprints" related to one's sleep habits and that fluctuations in the level of the microRNA can serve as a warning or guide to the stages and progression of the disease.