Nurse Health: Is Lack of Sleep Affecting Your Heart?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 21st, 2016

Sleep deprivation and an abnormal sleep cycle may increase the risk of heart disease, especially for shift workers, raising concerns for nurse health, one study at Northwestern University suggests.

nurse health sleep“In humans, as in all mammals, almost all physiological and behavioral processes, in particular the sleep-wake cycle, follow a circadian rhythm that is regulated by an internal clock located in the brain,” said study lead author Dr. Daniela Grimaldi.

“When our sleep-wake and feeding cycles are not in tune with the rhythms dictated by our internal clock, circadian misalignment occurs.”

The study results suggest that shift workers who are chronically exposed to circadian misalignment, might not fully benefit from the restorative cardiovascular effects of nighttime sleep.

A higher heart rate during the day was noted and to a greater extent at night when sleep deprivation was combined with delayed bedtimes. There was also an increase in levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine in the sleep-deprived and delayed-bedtime group.

Norepinephrine can narrow blood vessels, raise blood pressure and expand the windpipe.

Shift workers should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get more sleep to protect their hearts, the researchers said.

To learn how to improve your sleep and your health, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

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