Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes…why lack of sleep is much worse

(Daily Mail) — Sleep deprived? Join the club. About a quarter of the population regularly misses out on the healthy six to eight hours sleep we need a night, with potentially dangerous effects.

Not only is sleep deprivation frequently linked to road and industrial accidents (a quarter of road crashes are sleep related), but it’s been shown to raise significantly the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and obesity.

And now the latest studies suggest that lack of sleep hits women harder — both physically and emotionally — than men.

Scientists at the University of Warwick Medical School have reported there is a strong link between acute sleep deprivation and high blood pressure in women — but no such link in men.

Furthermore, last week researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the U.S. reported that when women are sleep-deprived it causes relationship problems — but the same is not true for men.

So why does sleep deprivation have so much more of an effect on women?

‘Numerous studies now show that short and poor quality sleep, over a protracted period is more likely to make both men and women die earlier than they should,’ says Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology at Warwick Medical School.

‘However, we have spotted important gender differences — particularly in the incidence of high blood pressure.’

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