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Many individuals sacrifice weekday sleep hoping to compensate by sleeping more on weekends. Recent research from Penn State indicates that this strategy may not adequately restore lost sleep, particularly concerning heart health.

Lack of sleep linked to cardiovascular health conditions

The study demonstrates that several cardiovascular health indicators, such as blood pressure and heart rate, deteriorate throughout the week with only five hours of sleep each night. According to the researchers efforts to recover lost sleep during the weekend are inadequate for restoring these measures to their baseline.

Study co-author and behavioral health associate professor Anne-Marie Chang stated that the number of Americans following the recommended 7 hours of sleep hours each night is around 65% with evidence indicating that lack of adequate sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease. The study uncovers a possible explanation for the connection over time.

The 11-day inpatient sleep study involved 15 healthy men aged 20 to 25 who engaged in sleep up to ten hours in the first three nights to establish a baseline. Then, for five nights, their sleep was limited to five hours each, followed by two nights of 10-hour sleep for recovery. The study monitored their blood pressure and resting heart rates every two hours during the day to analyze the effects of sleep variations on cardiovascular health.

Lower rates of heart beat observed when waking up late

Professor Chnag noted that they measured blood pressure and heart rate multiple times per day over the entire duration. By observing variations in heart rate throughout the day, including the naturally lower rates upon waking up later, the study accounted for these differences effectively.

The study found that heart rate increased by about 1 beat per minute (BPM) each day, starting at an average of 69 BPM and reaching almost 78 BPM by the second day of recovery. Systolic blood pressure also rose by approximately 0.5 mmHg per day, starting from an average of 116 mmHg and ending at nearly 119.5 mmHg at the end of the recovery period.