Modern life increases the risk of heart disease as it plays havoc with our natural sleep cycle, according to new research. The study suggests the body’s involuntary processes may break down in shift workers and other chronically sleep-deprived people, such as party-animals, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lack of sleep and disturbances to the natural body clock, or circadian rhythm, have both been previously associated with heart trouble, but the cause was unclear until recently.
Doctor Daniela Grimaldi, from Northwestern University in Chicago, said: “In modern society, social opportunity and work demand have caused people to become more active during late evening hours leading to a shift from the predominantly daytime lifestyle to a more nocturnal one.
Our results suggest shift workers, who are chronically exposed to circadian misalignment, might not fully benefit from the restorative cardiovascular effects of night-time sleep following a shift-work rotation.
“Exposure to consecutive days of sleep loss can impair cardiovascular function and these negative effects might be enhanced when changes in feeding and/or sleep-wake habits lead to a circadian disruption.”