Men and women who have difficulty dropping off at night could have an elevated risk of suffering from hypertension, a new study has shown.
Previous research by international healthcare specialists has linked insomnia to a wide range of illnesses, including lung disease, heart failure, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, stroke and gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can all require treatment funded through expatriate medical insurance policies.
However, the new investigation, conducted by researchers at the Henry Ford Centre for Sleep Disorders, revealed people who find it difficult to fall asleep have a higher prevalence of hypertension than those who sleep normally.
The study, which will be presented to Boston's Sleep 2012 Conference on June 12th, involved comparing 5,314 individuals with insomnia to regular sleepers.
It utilised a web-based questionnaire to determine the severity of hypertension, health and sleep habits, the prevalence of any conditions and patterns of insomnia systems.
Lead author of the research and associate scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center Christopher Drake explained one of the reasons for the link between sleeplessness and high blood pressure could be due to the number of times people wake up overnight, as well as the length of time if takes for them to successfully move from wakefulness to slumber – what he described as "sleep latency".
"We found that the longer it took the subjects to fall asleep and more times they woke during the night, the more severe their hypertension," he remarked.
Insomnia is defined as the inability to remain asleep or drop off and is one of the most common sleep complaints.
Data from the National Institutes of Health's National centre for Sleep Research revealed between 30 and 40 per cent of US adults claim to have symptoms of the condition within any given year, with between ten and 15 per cent claiming their condition is chronic.