| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Women who wake up in the night are twice as likely to die young, doctors warn

A study has found that women who struggle to keep an uninterrupted sleep during the night are twice as likely to die young from cardiovascular diseases, the MailOnline reported on Tuesday.

Over 8,000 people wore sleep-tracker devices as they kipped and researchers compared long-term health effects with their level of “unconscious wakefulness”.

This is a natural response of the brain to awake a person when it detects stimuli that may be a source of danger, such as loud noises, light, pain and trouble breathing.

Also known as nocturnal arousal, a person is unlikely to recall these events, as they are not significant enough to wake a person fully but it leads to a lower quality of sleep.

The study saw researchers examine sleep records from participants, aged 64 to 83, and followed them for between 6 and 11 years.

Data found women who suffer the most nighttime arousals are almost twice at risk of dying from heart-related causes in this period of time compared to the average woman.

Researchers calculated how much a person’s sleep was plagued by unconscious wakefulness events as a percentage of their total sleep.

A rate of more than 6.5% was estimated a high level of disruption.

When this group of women was compared to women with peaceful sleep, data showed a 1 in 8 (12.8%) risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

This is nearly double the 6.7% rate seen in the general population.

The risk of death from any cause in the 6 – 11 year window was 21% in good sleepers, which jumped to 31.5% for those with the most disrupted sleep.

Researchers found also there was an increased risk for men but it was to a lower extent – and not statistically significant in some cases.

It is unclear why women are harder hit by disrupted sleep than men, but it may be due to differences in what a male and female body deems to be a trigger, said Dr Dominik Linz, associate professor in the cardiology department at Maastricht University Medical Center, Netherlands, and co-author of the study.

Dr Linz said “women and men may have different compensatory mechanisms for coping with the detrimental effects of arousal.”

While a person has a natural threshold for arousal, this can be made worse by factors such as BMI, age and if a person suffers with sleep apnea.

“Another cause of arousals can be noise pollution during the night by, for example, night-time aircraft noise.”

  • Daily Mail