Sorry, I am bad with titles. This title, Sleeping Longer Reduces The Risk For Cardiovascular Problems, should have included that this in regards to sleeping longer in childhood. The point of today’s blog is to examine a study that was published October 4, 2019 in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. In it study the authors found sleeping longer has beneficial effects on endothelial cell health during childhood. This study, while only applicable to children because the authors only studied children, but something we as adults should consider regarding our own health.
Endothelial cells are the cells that line the interior surfaces of our blood and lymphatic vessels. Vascular endothelial cells line the vessel walls of the entire circulatory system and are biologically similar to the endocardial cells that line the heart. The endothelial cells function is diverse, it acts as both a barrier and doorway. It will both allow particles like insulin and lipids to pass through when needed and keep them from passing through when not needed. The endothelium has an important role in human function that includes controlling blood pressure, inflammatory response, and repair of damaged tissues and/or organs. Just to name a few roles. The loss of proper endothelial function, is a hallmark for vascular diseases, and is often regarded as a key early event in the development of atherosclerosis.
Another quick note about this study, the authors measured what is called endothelial microparticles. These are particles seen when the vascular endothelium is not functioning properly. In this study the author measured the endothelial microparticles circulating through the bloodstream of 223 children and compared it to these children’s sleep habits. The mean age of these children was 13.9 and they were 63.0% female. 69.2% of these children slept less than 8 hours a night which the authors called a short sleep duration. The longer sleep duration was found to be associated with a smaller amount of endothelial microparticles in the bloodstream. Just adding 60 more minutes to the sleep duration had a significant decrease in measurable endothelial microparticles in the bloodstream of children with short sleep duration.
In their conclusion the authors report; “Our results support the hypothesis that sleeping longer has beneficial effects on endothelial cell health during childhood. Primordial prevention efforts might incorporate sleep extension to offset cardiovascular risk in youth.” What this means to us as parents of children is we need to make sure our kids are getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Not just for their cardiovascular health throughout childhood but also to develop healthy sleep habits they can carry on as adults. As adults we need to realize that getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night is extremely important for our health, especially cardiovascular health. If you are not presently getting 8 hours of sleep a night you need to make a change, or else you are putting your heart health at risk.