WebMD: Disrupted sleep may actually increase a person’s odds of dying early from heart disease or any other cause, and women seem to be harder hit by these effects than men.
“The data underscores all the more reasons why we need to be screening people about whether or not they feel refreshed and how much sleep they’re getting each night,” said Dr. Andrea Matsumura, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, who reviewed the findings.
Nighttime arousals are caused by noise, temperature, pain or pauses in breathing as a result of sleep apnea. They are brief, and you’re often unaware they are happening unless they’re strong enough to wake you or your bed partner notices. When these arousals become frequent, however, they may take a toll on your health.
For the new study, researchers analyzed data from sleep monitors worn by participants in three studies. In all, 8,000 men and women were followed for an average of six to 11 years.
Women who experienced more nightly sleep disruptions over longer time periods had nearly double the risk of dying from heart disease and were also more likely to die early from all other causes, compared to women who slept more soundly, the study showed.
Men with more frequent nighttime sleep disruptions were about 25% more likely to die early from heart disease compared to men who got sounder sleep, the investigators found.