Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease May Be as Easy as a Good Night’s Sleep
Most of us have experienced jet lag, that shift in sleep patterns as we cross time zones, and it often feels like it puts a damper on our well-being. New research from scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital confirms just how much short-term shifts in our sleep and wake patterns can affect health, in particular our cardiovascular health. Researchers found that when sleep cycles were shifted by 12 hours, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased, as did inflammatory biomarkers. “We were able to determine the independent impact of circadian misalignment on cardiovascular disease risk factors,” says Frank Scheer, a neuroscientist in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at the hospital. Next steps include developing strategies to counter those negative effects, possibly through the timing of eating and exercising.