DEC 04, 2016 8:05 PM PST

What Sleep Deprivation Is Doing to Your Heart

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Firemen and women, emergency medicine workers, and others in the medical field are often expected to work hours on end without sleep, and it’s no secret that this habit is dangerous to the worker’s health and the health of any patient under their care. But in a new study led by scientists from the University of Bonn, specific connections are being made between sleep deprivation and heart health.
 Source: ABC
Led by Dr. Daniel Kuetting, MD, the new study is the first to look at individuals working 24-hour shifts and any connection to adverse effects on cardiac function. Kuetting’s study also uniquely incorporated analytic methods not usually used for studying “cardiac function in the context of sleep deprivation.”
 
Researchers gathered 20 radiologists, an average of 31.6 years old, with no known health problems. They obtained cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) images with strain analysis from each study participant before and after they worked a 24-hour shift and received an average of three hours of sleep. Kuetting says that CMR strain analyses are the most sensitive parameters of cardiac contractility. Participants were not allowed to consume caffeine or anything with theobromine.
 
Kuetting plans on organizing a larger version of this study with more participants to make better connections between sleep deprivation and long-term health effects. Also, he adds, “we did not take into account factors like individual stress level or environmental stimuli.”
 
However, the researchers were able to detect significant increases in blood pressure, heart rate, thyroid stimulating hormone, and cortisol, a hormone produced when individuals experience stress.
 
“For the first time we have shown that short-term sleep deprivation in the context of 24-hour shifts can lead to a significant increase in cardiac contractility, blood pressure, and heart rate,” Kuetting said.
 
This small study may not be enough to argue for systemic changes in the schedules of employees in certain fields of work yet, but with a potential larger study in the future, the evidence connecting sleep deprivation and cardiac malfunction may soon be undeniable.
 

 
Source: Radiological Society of North America
 
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 28, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 28, 2019
An Avocado a Day for Heart Health
There’s more great news for avocado lovers! The beloved tree fruit has undoubtedly skyrocketed in popularity over the last few decades thanks to a mu...
DEC 03, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
DEC 03, 2019
Cannabis Dependence Poses Danger for Post-op Heart Attacks
People undergoing common surgeries are immediately at an increased risk for post-op heart attack and potentially stroke if they have any link to cannabis d...
JAN 03, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 03, 2020
Healthy Sleep May Offset Genetic Heart Disease Risk
People with a high genetic risk of heart disease or stroke may be able to offset that risk with healthy sleep patterns, according to new research. The rese...
JAN 15, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 15, 2020
Women's Blood Vessels Age Faster than Men's, Study shows
Around 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, or roughly 1 in every 3 adults. Now, new research has shown that women’s blood vessels age fast...
MAR 13, 2020
Health & Medicine
MAR 13, 2020
Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Really Help Heart Health?
Are omega-3 fatty acid supplements part of your daily routine? Recommendations of intake vary worldwide but typically include oily fish intake or supplemen...
MAR 19, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 19, 2020
Listening to Music Reduces Risk for Repeat Heart Attack
Around 700,000 people survive a heart attack in the US each year, with approximately 1 in 9 of these survivors experiencing subsequent episodes of chest pa...
Loading Comments...