Harvard Women's Health Watch

Lack of sleep harmful to women's hearts

We already know that a poor night's sleep can make us grumpy and foggy. Past studies have also linked poor sleep (six hours or less a night) to heart disease. Now researchers say they are beginning to understand the reason for the connection.

A study published online June 5 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that women with heart disease who reported sleeping poorly (particularly those who woke up very early in the morning) have higher levels of inflammation markers—such as interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein. Inflammation has been found to increase the risk for heart disease and heart attacks. The authors say more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between sleep quality and inflammation in women.

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