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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