How does poor sleep lead to heart disease and death?

According to the World Health Organization,The cause of 31% of all deaths in the world are cardiovascular diseases. They develop with improper diet, smoking, lack of physical activity and improper sleep patterns. If scientists already know how food consumed, nicotine, and a sedentary lifestyle affect the heart and blood vessels, then the effect of an abnormal sleep pattern has not yet been studied. However, the mystery has already been solved - Harvard researchers have discovered an unexpected chemical reaction linking poor sleep with heart disease.

In their study, the team decided to understand howlack of sleep leads to the development of one of the most frequent cardiovascular diseases - atherosclerosis. During this disease, fatty plaques form in the human arteries that interfere with free blood flow and lead to a decrease in the elasticity of the blood vessels and their inflammation. Subsequently, more serious problems arise, such as seizures and stroke, which can cause death.

To identify a chain of chemical reactions,linking bad sleep with cardiovascular diseases, scientists conducted an experiment on mice. They were transferred to a diet high in fat and divided into two groups, one of which allowed sleep and the other not. Researchers have noticed that in sleepy mice, fatty plaques in the vessels form much faster and with greater intensity.

Chemical processes that lead toaccelerated clogging of blood vessels, were identified later. According to scientists, it all starts with the malfunctioning of the hypothalamus - the brain area that is responsible for regulating sleep and producing protein hypocretin. Lack of sleep leads to a lack of this protein, and this increases the amount of a hormone called colony-stimulating factor, accelerating the production of white blood cells. Leukocytes, in turn, lead to the formation of plaques in the vessels and, consequently, to diseases.

Researchers were surprised by such a large role.hypocretins in the occurrence of fatal heart disease. For the sake of interest, they gave mice hypopretin supplements, and their health condition improved markedly. Of course, this may not work in the case of people, but scientists intend to conduct some more research and give an accurate answer.

How many hours a day do you sleep? Are you able to get enough sleep? Write your answers in the comments, and to discuss the topic in more detail, join our Telegram-chat.