There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease for people in a precarious financial situation. New research reveals that in the context of social inequality, chronic sleep loss can contribute to this risk. People who are in a precarious financial position have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. New research reveals that chronic sleep loss may contribute to this risk in the context of social inequality.
Short sleep may help explain why low-income people, especially men, are at higher risk of heart disease.
Last year, study in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal demonstrated that people with low socio-economic status are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those in a less precarious financial situation.
A study published in The Lancet: Global Health Trusted Source, as recently as April of this year, found that people living in low-income countries face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Most biological and psychosocial factors, such as anxiety and high blood pressure, may explain the link between low socioeconomic status and a higher risk of heart problems.
But in a new research, researchers associated with the Lifepath Consortium have collected evidence that poor sleep can significantly lead to the risk of cardiovascular disease in people at a financial disadvantage to better understand how socio-economic disparities affect health.
In a research paper published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, the team reports and describes the new findings. The researchers discuss why they were interested in the potential link between socioeconomic status, duration of sleep, and heart disease in the study report, explaining that:
“First, individuals who experienced social adversity across the life-course report sleep-related problems more frequently […] In particular, people working in shifts, living in deprived neighborhoods, or who have experienced adversity in childhood show an increased prevalence of sleep-related disorders. Second, inadequate sleep has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Poor sleep accounts for 13.4% of the men’s connection
The researchers analyzed data from a total of 111,205 participants in the current study from eight separate cohorts from four countries: France, UK, Switzerland, and Portugal.
The team divides the participants into different socioeconomic categories — low, moderate, or high earnings depending on the occupation of the participants, as well as the occupation of the father of each participant.
The researchers also had access to the history of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular events of the participants thanks to medical examinations and self-reported measures.
Researchers also looked at sleep period measures, classifying them as normal sleep (6–8.5 hours per night), long sleep (over 8.5 hours per night) and short sleep (less than 6 hours per night).
The researchers used mediation analysis, a specialized statistical method to explain how and if sleep loss was likely to contribute to cardiovascular problems in people with different incomes.
Researchers ‘ findings suggested that in people with lower socioeconomic status, inadequate sleep may play a role in the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The impact, however, seemed to vary by biological sex.
The researchers also found that short sleep is likely to explain for 13.4% of the association between occupations associated with lower socioeconomic status and men’s coronary heart disease.
While women also get heart disease in lower socio-economic groups, it does not seem to be linked to sleep in the same way as men do.
The researchers hypothesize that this may be due to the fact that most women are already facing a much higher burden of responsibilities outside their professional occupation which affect their sleep and health independently.
Co-author of the University Centre for General Medicine and Public Health in Lausanne, Switzerland, Dusan Petrovic, said: “Women with low socioeconomic status often combine the physical and psychosocial strain of manual, poorly paid jobs with household responsibilities and stress, which negatively affects sleep and its health-restoring effects compared to men.”
Based on the findings of the research, the researchers argue that societies need to address many issues at their core to help each of their members achieve as much as possible adequate sleep.
“At every level of society, structural reforms are needed to enable people to sleep more,” advises Petrovic.


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