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Bad Sleep Raises Heart Disease Risk

According to a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, disrupted sleep patterns, such as those that occur during shift work, increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, three conditions that are major contributors to heart disease.

The study was designed to simulate not only patterns of sleep deprivation, but also the irregular patterns of sleep that occur for people who do shift work — an employment practice designed to make use of or provide service during all 24 hours of the day.

Researchers put 21 healthy, well-rested men and women in a sleep lab where conditions caused them to become sleep-deprived for three weeks. After three weeks, the subjects were allowed to catch up on their sleep over nine nights.

During that three-week period, the researchers found the subjects burned fewer calories while at rest than they did when they had adequate sleep. Their pancreases also produced less insulin than normal, resulting in higher blood sugar levels. Happily, the condition reversed when the subjects were able to catch up on their sleep.

Everyone has to make sleep a priority, even if you are working odd hours. If you must work the third shift, make sure that you get enough sleep during the day, and that your family and your friends respect this need.

Thank you for reading today’s heart health tip by Dr. Chauncey Crandall

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