New research has found that people who exercise after curtailed sleep have a higher risk of heart disease. The study published in Molecular Metabolism examined participants who underwent an intense bout of exercise after normal and three nights of curtailed sleep.
Researchers found that participants who exercised after curtailed sleep had increased heart injury biomarker troponin levels compared with participants who completed exercise in their well-rested condition.
Previous studies have found that chronically disrupted and shortened sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and myocardial infarction. Physical exercise has also been well studied for its ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it is still unknown if controlled sleep restriction modulates cardiac stress during intense exercise.
Study author Jonathan Cedernaes explained, “Exercise is great for the heart, while lack of sleep can adversely impact the cardiovascular system. But it has been unknown whether shortened sleep can modulate the physiologic stress the intense exercise seems to have on the cells of the heart.”
Levels of the heart injury biomarkers were not found to be elevated in response to sleep restriction before the workout. Researchers believe it may be possible that lack of sleep may lower the threshold of increased exercise load resulting in stress in the heart muscles.
Overall, this study suggests that those who exercise regularly but get less sleep than the recommended amount may still reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, those with chronic sleep problems who partake in intense exercise may increase their risk of heart injury.
Lack of sleep had many more consequences than just being tired and having a diminished performance. Proper quality sleep can support the ability to maintain cardiovascular health, help to keep healthy body weight and maintain blood sugar levels.
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