Fragmented Sleep Associated with Subclinical Multiterritory Atherosclerosis

Senior man laying in bed
Senior man laying in bed
Decreased sleep time and fragmented sleep are associated with an increased risk for subclinical multiterritory atherosclerosis.

Shorter sleep duration and fragmented sleep are independently associated with an increased risk for subclinical multiterritory atherosclerosis, according to results published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study included participants from the Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis study. The researchers performed 7-day actigraphic recording on all participants, and then stratified them into 4 groups: very short sleep duration (<6 hours), short sleep duration (6-7 hours), reference sleep duration (7-8 hours), and long sleep duration (>8 hours).

They defined the sleep fragmentation index as the sum of the movement index and the fragmentation index. The researchers also performed carotid and femoral 3-dimensional vascular ultrasound and cardiac computer tomography to quantify noncoronary atherosclerosis and coronary calcification.

After adjusting for traditional risk factors, the researchers found that compared with the reference group, very short sleep duration was independently associated with a higher atherosclerotic burden with 3-dimensional vascular ultrasound (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.06-1.52; P =.008).

The results indicated that participants in the highest quintile of sleep fragmentation had a higher prevalence of multiple affected noncoronary territories compared with other quintiles (odds ratio, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.09-1.64; P =.006).

The researchers did not find any differences in coronary artery calcification score among the different sleep groups.

“These results highlight the importance of healthy sleep habits for the prevention of [cardiovascular disease],” the researchers wrote.

Related Articles


Dominguez F, Fuster V, Fernandez-Alvira JM, et al. Association of sleep duration and quality with subclinical arthritis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;73(2):134-144.