MAR 23, 2023 9:00 AM PDT

Short Sleep Duration Linked to Clogged Leg Arteries

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in the European Heart Journal Open has shown that sleep duration is linked to the risk of developing peripheral artery disease, with individuals who get less than 5 hours of sleep per night at particularly high risk.

The study included over 650,000 participants. Sleep duration and daytime napping were measured and assessed for potential associations with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Additionally, genetic data was used in an analysis method called Mendelian randomization to determine causality (e.g., whether the sleep patterns were causing PAD or whether PAD was causing the sleep patterns).

The researchers saw that short sleep duration (less than 5 hours per night) was linked to nearly double the risk of having PAD. Additionally, the causality went both ways; short sleep duration increased the risk of PAD, and having PAD increased the chances of short sleep duration. Long sleep duration (more than 8 hours per night) was associated with a 24% greater risk of PAD compared to sleeping 7–8 hours per night, but no causal relationship was found. Similarly, daytime napping was linked to a 32% higher risk of PAD with no causal link found. One of the authors noted that more research is needed to determine the causality regarding long sleep durations, daytime napping, and PAD.

PAD is a disease in which the arteries in the legs become clogged, which can raise the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. While the reason for the association between PAD and sleep duration is not entirely clear, there are several possible explanations. Shorter sleep duration may cause increased oxidative stress and inflammation, which can raise the risk of PAD. Additionally, short sleep durations have been linked to other factors that raise the risk of PAD, including obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Sources: European Heart Journal Open, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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