Sleep, sleep deprivation, autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular diseases

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Mar;74(Pt B):321-329. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


Sleep deprivation (SD) has become a relevant health problem in modern societies. We can be sleep deprived due to lifestyle habits or due to sleep disorders, such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and neurological disorders. One of the common element of sleep disorders is the condition of chronic SD, which has complex biological consequences. SD is capable of inducing different biological effects, such as neural autonomic control changes, increased oxidative stress, altered inflammatory and coagulatory responses and accelerated atherosclerosis. All these mechanisms links SD and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. Epidemiological studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, arrhythmias, diabetes and obesity, after adjustment for socioeconomic and demographic risk factors and comorbidities. Thus, an early assessment of a condition of SD and its treatment is clinically relevant to prevent the harmful consequences of a very common condition in adult population.

Keywords: Apnea; Autonomic nervous system; Cardiovascular diseases; Sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
  • Sleep Deprivation*