Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Punching in on a Good Night’s Sleep

Want a healthy heart? Try to punch out of work on time.

A new study published in the European Heart Journal indicates that working three to four hours of overtime may damage your heart.

In contrast to people with seven-hour workdays, people with 10 to 11 hour workdays had a 60 percent higher risk of having heart problems. These problems included death due to coronary heart disease (CHD), non-fatal heart attacks and angina.

The study involved more than 6,000 male and female British civil servants. All of the participants were London-based. Participants entered the study when they were 39 to 61 years old. The study began between 1991 and 1994. At that time, participants were free from CHD. They all worked full time.

Eleven years later, 369 heart-related problems had taken place.

The researchers found that the association between long workdays and CHD was independent of 21 risk factors. Risk factors included smoking, excess weight and high cholesterol.

In a press release, the researches noted that not sleeping enough or having enough time to unwind before sleep might have contributed to the results.

Working overtime was related to type A aggressive behavior patterns, depression and anxiety. The researchers suggested that employees who work overtime might be more likely to work while ill, ignore symptoms of ill health, and not seek medical help.

In an editorial on the research, Dr. Gordon McInnes, explained that if the effect is causal, overtime-induced work stress might contribute to a large portion of cardiovascular disease.

In February, Sleep Education reported on two studies that examined the tie between sleep and heart health.

The blog cited a study of heart attacks in Sweden. It found that heart attacks rose by five percent in the week after daylight saving time. The researchers suggested that the results reflected sleep deprivation caused by the time change.

Sleep Education cited another study from the University of Chicago. This second study found that longer sleep duration was associated with a lower rate of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of CHD.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.