Study says women's health much more at risk from sleep deprivation

September 07, 2007

New research led by researchers at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick reveals that women's health is much more at risk from sleep deprivation than men's.

The researchers looked at men and women sleeping less than or equal 5 hours a night to see if their risk of having hypertension was any higher than men and women getting the recommended 7 hours or more of sleep a night. Among other problems increased hypertension does increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Some previous studies have indicated that sleep deprivation is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension. However that research was based on self-reported diagnosis of hypertension, and had no gender-specific analysis.

The University of Warwick led research team looked at data from "The Whitehall II Cohort" which studied volunteers from 20 London-based civil service departments. There were a total of 6,592 participants (4,199 men and 1,567 women). The Warwick team defined hypertension as blood pressure equal to or higher than 140/90 mm Hg or if the subject made regular use of antihypertensive medications.

The researchers found that the those women in the study group who slept less than or equal to 5 hours a night were twice as likely to suffer from hypertension than women who slept for the more recommended seven hours or more a night. The researchers found no difference between men sleeping less than 5 hours and those sleeping 7 hours or more.

Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School led the research he declared that women sleeping les than 5 hours a night should try to get more sleep as:

"Sustained sleep curtailment, ensuing excessive daytime sleepiness, and the higher cardiovascular risk are causes for concern. Emerging evidence also suggests a potential role for sleep deprivation as a predictor or risk factor for conditions like obesity and diabetes."
-end-
The research paper entitled: "Gender-Specific Associations of Short Sleep Duration With Prevalent and Incident Hypertension: The Whitehall II Study" is published in the October issue of "Hypertension".

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager,
Communications Office,
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
+44 (0)24 76 523708 email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

University of Warwick

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