Work stress and bad sleep pose risk to high BP patients: Study

Work stress

Stress at work and trouble in sleeping are found to be major contributory factors, increasing risk of cardiovascular death among employees who have been diagnosed with hypertension.

A research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that high BP patients who don’t sleep well and face work related anxiety had a three times greater likelihood of death from cardiovascular disease than those who take good nap and remains happy on work front.

“Sleep should be a time for recreation, unwinding, and restoring energy levels. If you have stress at work, sleep helps you recover. Unfortunately, poor sleep and job stress often go hand in hand, and when combined with hypertension the effect is even more toxic,” Study author Karl-Heinz Ladwig, said.

Previous research has shown that psychosocial factors have a stronger detrimental effect on individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular risks than on healthy people.

People with work stress alone had a 1.6-fold higher risk while those with only poor sleep had a 1.8-times higher risk.

Employees with both work stress and impaired sleep had an absolute risk of 7.13 per 1,000 person-years compared to 3.05 per 1,000-person-years in those with no stress and healthy sleep. Absolute risks for only work stress or only poor sleep were 4.99 and 5.95 per 1,000 person-years, respectively.

In the study, work stress was defined as jobs with high demand and low control – for example when an employer wants results but denies authority to make decisions.

“If you have high demands but also high control, in other words, you can make decisions, this may even be positive for health. But being entrapped in a pressured situation that you have no power to change is harmful,” said Ladwig.

Also read: Offering Prevention via Identification of Stressors & Emotional Supportive Counselling

Impaired sleep was defined as difficulties falling asleep and/or maintaining sleep. “Maintaining sleep is the most common problem in people with stressful jobs. They wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to go to the toilet and come back to bed ruminating about how to deal with work issues,” said Ladwig.

“These are insidious problems. The risk is not having one tough day and no sleep. It is suffering from a stressful job and poor sleep over many years, which fade energy resources and may lead to an early grave,” noted Ladwig.


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