Influence of poor sleep on cardiovascular disease-free life expectancy: a multi-resource-based population cohort study

The complexity of sleep hinders the formulation of sleep guidelines. Recent studies suggest that different unhealthy sleep characteristics jointly increase the risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study aimed to estimate the differences in CVD-free life expectancy between people with different sleep profiles.

We included 308,683 middle-aged adults from the UK Biobank among whom 140,181 had primary care data linkage. We used an established composite sleep score comprising self-reported chronotype, duration, insomnia complaints, snoring, and daytime sleepiness to derive three sleep categories: poor, intermediate, and healthy. We also identified three clinical sleep disorders captured by primary care and inpatient records within 2 years before enrollment in the cohort: insomnia, sleep-related breathing disorders, and other sleep disorders. We estimated sex-specific CVD-free life expectancy with three-state Markov models conditioning on survival at age 40 across different sleep profiles and clinical disorders.

We observed a gradual loss in CVD-free life expectancy toward poor sleep such as, compared with healthy sleepers, poor sleepers lost 1.80 [95% CI 0.96–2.75] and 2.31 [1.46–3.29] CVD-free years in females and males, respectively, while intermediate sleepers lost 0.48 [0.41–0.55] and 0.55 [0.49–0.61] years. Among men, those with clinical insomnia or sleep-related breathing disorders lost CVD-free life by 3.84 [0.61–8.59] or 6.73 [5.31–8.48] years, respectively. Among women, sleep-related breathing disorders or other sleep disorders were associated with 7.32 [5.33–10.34] or 1.43 [0.20–3.29] years lost, respectively.

Both self-reported and doctor-diagnosed poor sleep are negatively associated with CVD-free life, especially pronounced in participants with sleep-related breathing disorders.