Sleepless nights of insomnia can really get the best of you. According to researchers at the University of Arizona and the Arizona Respiratory Center, persistent insomnia is linked to higher levels of inflammation in the body and a 58% increased risk of death.
Published in The American Journal of Medicine, the UA study analyzed data from a long-term, ongoing respiratory study at the university, the Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obtuctive Disease, which started in 1972. The compiled data for the new study spanned more than 40 years.
It was found that of the 1,409 adult participants, 18% (249 adults) of them had intermittent insomnia, while 9% (128 adults) had persistent insomnia. Those who had chronic insomnia also had higher levels of inflammation in their blood, compared to the other sleepers.
During the 20-year follow up period, 318 of the participants died, with 118 deaths due to cardiovascular disease. Persistent or chronic insomnia that occurred for at least 6 years was also linked with a higher risk of death.
“An enhanced understanding of the association between persistence of insomnia and death would inform treatment of the at-risk population,” said Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy, one of the lead authors of the UA study. “We found that participants with persistent insomnia were at increased risk of dying due to heart and lung conditions independent of the effects of hypnotics, opportunity for sleep (as distinguished from sleep deprivation), sex, age and other known confounding factors.”
Insomnia is characterized as having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and/or waking up too early. The sleep disorder is estimated to affect about 20% of adults in America, with half of those affected suffering from persistent or chronic insomnia.
If you have any trouble sleeping for an extended period of time, speak with a licensed physician immediately to improve your sleep, which in turn will help improve your overall quality of life.