It’s time to get attention for your insomnia, and to solve why it takes you so long to fall asleep. When it comes to poor sleep encroaching on their health, women don’t have a lot of margin for error.

Minor sleep issues, like trouble falling asleep and insomnia, can lead to raised blood pressure in women – even if you end up getting enough sleep during the night. That’s according to a new study from Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

While it is already known that serious sleep disturbances like chronic sleep deprivation can negatively effect on cardiovascular health, the study focuses on more minor sleep problems and the serious cardiovascular effects they can have.

Women are more likely to have these milder sleep issues than men – they’re twice as likely to have chronic insomnia, for example.

“That’s concerning since studies have shown that sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women,” says Brooke Aggarwal, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at Columbia’s Department of Medicine, in a release.

The findings

The study looked at 323 women in good health and tracked their blood pressure and sleep habits. They were three times more likely to have mild sleep problems (like bad-quality sleep, having trouble falling asleep, or insomnia) than serious sleep problems like sleep apnea.

The women who had mild sleep issues – even those who slept for seven to nine hours a night – were “significantly” more likely to have elevated blood pressure.

Said Aggarwal, “It may be prudent to screen women for milder sleep disturbances in an effort to help prevent cardiovascular disease.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Originally published on The Ladders.

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