Dutch scientists from Maastricht University Medical Center are confident that frequent short-term awakenings during the night increase the risk of dying from a heart attack, especially in women.
The researchers analyzed data obtained during 11 years of observation of 8,000 subjects of both sexes.
It turned out that women who often wake up at night were almost 2 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared with the fair sex, sleeping soundly and without waking up. Women with light sleep also died earlier for other reasons.
For men with constant waking up at night, everything is not so critical: their risk of dying from heart disease increases by only 25%, when compared with the strong sleepers of the stronger sex.
According to the researchers, during short and interrupted sleep, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and inflammatory processes are triggered. And when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, stress hormones are released, which increase heart rate and blood pressure, which subsequently increases the risk of developing heart disease.
Scientists believe that men and women may have different compensatory mechanisms to cope with the negative effects of frequent awakenings. But still, the best way to stabilize sleep and make it more sound is to eliminate any arousal triggers.
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