Poor sleep can negatively impact a woman’s heart, especially during menopause. Menopausal women often have trouble sleeping, and researchers suggest this can add to their heart problems, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The researchers found that sleep loss was correlated with greater plaque buildup and thicker artery walls.
Lead researcher Rebecca Thurston said, “Our results indicate that short or poor sleep is associated with some increased risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.”
The researchers suggest that the risk is moderate. They do not suggest a casual relation, but “… measured many things in this study to explain why sleep may be related to cardiovascular disease risk [for example, inflammatory factors, nervous system factors, depression], but they did not explain the association we saw,” added Thurston.
“Menopause is also a time of accelerating cardiovascular disease risk. Whether sleep problems help explain the accelerations in cardiovascular disease risk during the menopause transition, we do not know, but we will be looking into that question in future work,” Thurston continued.
The researchers found that plaque buildup rose for every hour of sleep lost. The highest amount of artery thickening was observed in women who only slept for five to six hours a night.
Sleep is an integral part to overall good health, so it’s imperative that we all manage to get an adequate amount of shuteye. Whether you are going through menopause, or simply are over the hump, you should address your poor sleep issues with your doctor and find means to improve it.