Epidemiology of Sleep Disturbances and Cardiovascular Consequences

Can J Cardiol. 2015 Jul;31(7):873-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.03.011. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


It is increasingly recognized that disruption of sleep and reduced amounts of sleep can have significant adverse cardiovascular consequences. For example, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common underdiagnosed disorder characterized by recurrent nocturnal asphyxia resulting from repetitive collapse of the upper airway; this leads to repetitive episodes of nocturnal hypoxemia and arousal from sleep. Risk factors for disease include obesity, increased age, male sex, and family history. In epidemiologic studies, OSA appears to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and treatment is associated with better outcomes. Habitual short sleep duration is common in today's society. In epidemiologic studies, short sleep duration is associated with a number of adverse health effects, including all-cause mortality, weight gain, and incident CVD. Given the links between sleep disorders and adverse health outcomes, obtaining adequate quality and amounts of sleep should be considered a component of a healthy lifestyle, similar to good diet and exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*