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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thank you scientists

Well now it seems that skimping on sleep can lead to the hardening of arteries:

People who scrimp on sleep are more likely to develop hardening of their arteries, a precursor to heart disease, research suggests.

Calcified arteries were found in nearly a third of people who slept fewer than five hours a night.

As the proud father of a 3-week old who is already overweight and out of shape I can't tell you how happy this makes me.


Well, I suppose it can just pile onto the stress caused by the STFC crisis and knock a couple of extra years off. Least it saves me worrying about a pension.

What is interesting in the article is the bit near the bottom, unhinted at in the lede:

Firstly, there may be some factor not yet identified that can both reduce sleep duration and increase calcification.

Or it might be down to blood pressure - high blood pressure increases the likelihood of calcification and blood pressure goes down during sleep.

Alternatively, stress or a stress hormone like cortisol, which has been tied to decreased sleep and increased calcification, may play a role.

So in fact it it could be nothing at all to do with whether you are not getting enough sleep, rather it could be that lack of sleep is another symptom of what is causing the calcification.

The money quote:
"Although this single study does not prove that short sleep leads to coronary artery disease, it is safe to recommend at least six hours of sleep a night."

It's funny, I wonder how many people who read the headline without following though the article would have realized that the scare quotes meant that it is just a hypothesis?

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