Snoring: Bad for your Partner and Bad for your Heart

Snoring is more than just annoying for your partner. A new study reveals that those who snore in their sleep are at a much higher risk of heart disease than those who do not.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburg studied the hearts of 812 men and women to test for correlations with sleep patterns. They found that people who snore loudly are twice as likely as quiet sleepers to have certain risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

These risk factors are what is called metabolic syndrome. Someone diagnosed with metabolic syndrome has at least three of the risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, such as high blood pressure or low cholesterol.

In the United States, one in five people have metabolic syndrome.

The need for sound sleep? The researchers found that subjects with sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep, had significantly higher risk factors for heart disease. Those who reported feeling unrefreshed from sleep more than three times a week had an eighty percent chance of developing risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Researchers could predict the development of metabolic syndrome based on loud snoring. Consequently, the study propagates the idea that doctors should question sleep habits in routine check-ups to help predict one’s likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome.

The study does not show that snoring causes metabolic syndrome. Rather, it reveals the correlation between the two.

Previous studies have demonstrated a link between healthy sleep patterns and overall healthy lifestyles. This study, however, sheds light on the correlation between sleep patterns and specifically developing metabolic syndrome. What is less clear is the role of sleep in preventing these risk factors.

Wendy Troxel, the lead author of the study, suggested that snoring may create body vibrations that damage arteries. “Chronic sleep disturbances may produce high levels of stress hormones and have exaggerated cardiovascular responses, which could lead to changes in blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and weight.”

The results of the study are published in the journal Sleep.