Lack of sleep puts teens at risk for CVD

June 28, 2012

Teenagers may have a new and legitimate reason to sleep longer. New research shows that lack of weekday sleep during adolescence may be an important predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood. More >>


Teenagers may have a new and legitimate reason to sleep longer. New research shows that lack of weekday sleep during adolescence may be an important predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood.

It seems that lower amounts of sleep during the school week raise C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. High-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) is an important CVD risk marker.

The preliminary findings were presented at SLEEP 2012, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, June 9-13, in Boston.

The researchers included 244 healthy adolescents (mean age, 15 years) in the cross-sectional, observational study. The group was split about evenly between blacks and whites and between boys and girls.

Using wrist actigraphy, the investigators found that mean sleep duration on Sunday through Thursday nights was 5.9 hours. On Friday and Saturday nights, the participants slept an average of 7.4 hours. Experts recommend 9 hours of sleep per night for this age group.

The researchers found that those students who slept less on weeknights had higher risk levels of hs-CRP (≥3 mg/L). The association between lower amounts of weeknight sleep and elevated hs-CRP levels persisted even after the researchers adjusted for other factors known to elevate the marker, such as age, race, sex, and body mass index. The investigators found no association between weekend sleep duration and elevated CRP.

The researchers believe the findings may be important, given that cardiovascular pathophysiology ensues decades before actual detection of disease.

Go back to the current issue of the eConsult.