A new study has found that individuals who suffer from insomnia have heightened nighttime blood pressure, which can lead to cardiac problems.
The research, published in the journal Sleep, measured the 24-hour blood pressure of insomniacs compared to sound sleepers.
It was conducted by researchers from the Universite de Montreal, its affiliated Hopital du Sacre-Cour de Montreal Sleep Disorders Center and the Universite Laval.
"Over many years, chronic insomnia can have negative effects on the hearts of otherwise healthy individuals," says lead author Paola A. Lanfranchi, a professor in the Universite de Montreal Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the H"pital du Sacre-Cour de Montreal Sleep Disorders Center.
"Whereas blood pressure decreases in regular sleepers and gives their heart a rest, insomnia provokes higher nighttime blood pressure that can cause long-term cardiovascular risks and damage the heart," the expert added.
To reach the conclusion, scientists recruited 13 otherwise healthy chronic insomniacs and 13 good sleepers. Subjects spent 40 hours in the sleep laboratory: two nights for adaptation and one for monitoring followed by the intervening day.
"Blood pressure cycles are mainly linked to the sleep-wake cycle," says co author Jacques Montplaisir, a professor in the Universite de Montreal Department of Psychiatry and director of H'pital du Sacre-Cour de Montreal Disorders Center.
"Since blood pressure is heightened among insomniacs, those with overt cardiac disease are particularly at risk for progression of the disease," the expert added.