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Insomnia increases the mortality risk in men

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A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women ‘s Hospital ( BWH ) and published in the journal Circulation, shows that men who suffer from insomnia have a higher risk of mortality. Insomnia is the most common of sleep diseases and statistics show that this disorder affects a third of the U.S. population. Dr. Yanping Li, a research fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and lead author of the paper, said that insomnia is a common health problem particularly in elderly adults, but that the link between this sleep disorder and its impact on health is unclear. Dr Li has stated that their study showed that among men who experienced symptoms of insomnia there is a moderate risk of death related to cardiovascular issues.

The study led by researchers at Brigham and Women ‘s Hospital shows that difficulty in falling asleep and restless sleep are associated both with a higher risk of mortality, in particular with cardiovascular disease -related mortality. They reached this conclusion they conducted a study that included more than 23,000 men who reported insomnia for more than 6 years. From 2004 to 2010, of the 23,000 cases investigated, the researchers found 2,025 deaths. Taking into account factors related to lifestyle, age or other chronic conditions, researchers found that men who experienced difficulty in falling asleep or who had a restless sleep, had an 55% and 32 % increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular issues during the 6 years of follow -up.



Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, a researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and Harvard School of Public Health and senior author of this study,  said that we know that sleep is important for cardiovascular health and many studies have shown that poor sleep is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. He added that the study shows that sleep quality not only has an impact on disease risk, but also on our longevity. “While further research is necessary to confirm these findings, there is overwhelming evidence that practicing good sleep hygiene and prioritizing sufficient and restful sleep is an often overlooked but important modifiable risk factor in overall health”, Dr. Gao pointed out.

There are many factors that can lead to insomnia: situational factors (noise , light intensity), psychological factors (stress, depression, anxiety ), medical factors ( sleep apnea, nocturnal asthma, reflux disease, etc. );  insomnia can be caused by various stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine. Regarding the treatment of insomnia, it can be non-pharmacological, such as behavioral therapy or relaxation therapy, or pharmacological. However, it is best to identify and treat the cause of insomnia first.