Occupation, sleep and heart disease linked in new study

'Low life-course socioeconomic status,' and resulting lack of sleep associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease

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(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lack of sleep and occupation have been linked to the risk of coronary heart disease.

According to research from the European Society of Cardiology, published on Friday (Nov. 22), researchers found that lack of sleep deriving from low life-course socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

The participants in the study were categorized by several factors, the most prominent being SES and sleep duration. The participant was identified as having a profession that was "high," "middle," or "low," and the sleep was described as "normal" (6–8.5 h/night), "short" (<6 h/night), or "long" (>8.5 h/night).

The main finding was that a "low" rated occupation is associated with an increased risk of CHD in both men and women. This finding was attributed to significantly shorter sleep duration.

One explanation is that individuals with low-grade occupations often have to combine several jobs, work in shifts, and live in noisy environments. Thus they experience greater levels of stress, leading to sleep deprivation.

In addition, though the study indicates causation between short sleep duration and cardiovascular risk, the link was not as noticeable when it came to sleep deprivation among women. However, the strain of manual work, less pay, and stress from numerous household responsibilities does eventually affect sleep and cause negative consequences to a woman's health.

According to the researchers: "We also observed that short sleep duration significantly contributed to the adult occupational gradient in CHD in men, but not in women. The absence of mediation by short sleep duration in women may be related to the fact that there was a weaker adult occupational gradient in short sleep duration in women than in men."

Modern sleep disorders and their detrimental consequences have long been the focus of health studies. Lack of sleep can affect the immune system, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, increase blood pressure, and even age brains up to 5 years. Also, lack of sleep causes road accidents.

Data from previous investigations show that across all the age groups in Taiwan, none sleep more than eight hours on weekdays. Teenagers and young adults, due to bad sleeping habits, study and work pressure, sleep much less than the recommended hours from the US National Sleep Foundation.

Internal and external factors, such as personal differences or social inequalities, might go toward explaining why some people sleep better than others. Nevertheless, as many experts have pointed out, the time that people spend on their beds dozing is more important than most of us think.