The findings of the research could provide evidence of how poor sleep contributes to the progression of heart disease in women
Sleeping badly could make heart disease worse in women, according to a study.Research into 700 people over five years in the US has found fewer than six hours a night sleep, and in particular waking too early, has a "significant" role in raising unhealthy levels of inflammation amongst women with coronary heart disease.
The relationship between poor sleep and higher levels of inflammation was not observed in men in the study.
The findings of the research, published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, could provide evidence of how poor sleep contributes to the progression of heart disease in women, according to the authors.
"Inflammation is a well-known predictor of cardiovascular health," said lead author Dr Aric Prather, a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco.
"Now we have evidence that poor sleep appears to play a bigger role than we had previously thought in driving long-term increases in inflammation levels and may contribute to the negative consequences often associated with poor sleep."
Scientists have already documented that poor sleep is a risk factor in a number of chronic health conditions, including coronary heart disease.
All the participants in the study had coronary heart disease. They were asked about their sleep quality when they first enrolled on the study and then five years later.