(STUDY FINDS) -- BERKELEY, Calif. — Can’t get a good night’s sleep? For many years, researchers have known that there is an association between interrupted sleep and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The mechanism that causes this increased risk has eluded scientists — until now. Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley say that interrupted sleep causes an inflammatory response that can cause atherosclerosis (the clogging of arteries by cholesterol plaque) to worsen and increases the risk of stroke.
The research team recruited 1,600 adults to participate in sleep studies so they could monitor their inflammatory pathways while they slept. Two types of tools to measure sleep disruptions were used: a lab-based polysomnography (used over a single night) and actigraphy (a movement detector that’s used over multiple nights).
The team sought to determine how sleep disruptions affect the levels of two types of white blood cells that contribute to the inflammatory response of the body: neutrophils and monocytes. They also looked at the levels of plaque-causing-calcium deposits in the coronary arteries.
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