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Not getting enough sleep is known to raise the risk of heart disease; now, a new study may have uncovered why a poor night's sleep is bad for your heart and blood vessels.
The study, conducted in mice, found that fragmented sleep alters the levels of a certain hormone, which in turn, increases production of inflammatory cells in the bone marrow. This inflammation plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup.
Findings - Today - Feb - Nature - Sleep
The findings, published today (Feb. 13) in the journal Nature, suggest that proper sleep "protects against atherosclerosis" and, conversely, that disrupted sleep makes the condition worse, the researchers said.
Numerous studies have linked not getting enough sleep with an increased risk of heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the underlying biological reasons for this link have been unclear.
Study - Researchers - Mice - Mice - Amount
In the new study, the researchers looked at mice that were genetically prone to atherosclerosis. Some of the mice were allowed to get a sufficient amount of sleep, while others had their slumber frequently interrupted by a "sweep bar" that automatically moved across the bottom of the cage.
The sleep-deprived mice didn't experience any changes in weight or cholesterol levels compared with the sleep-sufficient mice. But the sleep-deprived mice did have larger plaques in their arteries and higher levels of inflammation in...
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