According to recent research being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Along With the World Congress of Cardiology, those who have insomnia are 69% more likely to get a heart attack than those who don’t during an average nine years of follow-up. Researchers also discovered that persons who slept for five hours or less per night had the highest risk of having a heart attack when using sleep duration as an objective indicator of insomnia. The risk of suffering a heart attack was increased threefold among people who both had diabetes and sleeplessness.

“The most prevalent sleep issue is insomnia, which has evolved into more of a lifestyle choice than a disease in many aspects. Simply put, we don’t give sleep the priority that it deserves “said Yomna E. Dean, the study’s author and a medical student at Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt. Our research revealed that women with insomnia were more likely than males to get heart attacks, and that this risk is present regardless of age.

Dean and her research group are hoping that this study will raise awareness of the potential link between sleep disturbances and cardiovascular health. Insomnia can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get good-quality sleep.

According to estimates, 10% to 30% of American adults suffer from insomnia, with women being more affected than males. Although studies have connected sleeplessness to metabolic and cardiovascular conditions, this analysis is the largest to date.

We need to do a better job of teaching people about how harmful [lack of adequate sleep] may be, said Dean. “Based on our pooled data, sleeplessness should be considered a risk factor for getting a heart attack,” he said.