Study Says Trouble Sleeping Can Increase Risk of Stroke

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June 8, 2023 -- Insomnia can lead to an increased risk of stroke, according to new research. The risk goes up with more symptoms, such as trouble falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early, says the study published in the journal Neurology.

More than a third of the country suffers from insomnia, the study’s authors note. They wanted to investigate the relationship between the disorder and the occurrence of stroke.

People with five to eight insomnia symptoms had a 51% higher chance of having a stroke than those with no insomnia, after controlling for other risk factors, said a statement accompanying the study.

People with one to four symptoms had a 16% higher risk than those with no symptoms.

“There are many therapies that can help people improve the quality of their sleep, so determining which sleep problems lead to an increased risk of stroke may allow for earlier treatments or behavioral therapies for people who are having trouble sleeping and possibly reducing their risk of stroke later in life,” said lead study author and epidemiologist Wendemi Sawadogo, a researcher at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, in a statement.

Earlier research showed similar relationships between sleep disorders and stroke, CNN reported.

Poor sleep disrupts metabolism and blood pressure, and causes inflammation, which are stroke factors, Phyllis Zee, MD, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told CNN.

“Poor sleep can impair the natural blood pressure dipping that occurs during nighttime sleep and contribute to hypertension — an important risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease,” Zee said.