The Worrying Link Between Insomnia and Heart Failure

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Sleep is vitally important to our health.

Getting a good night's sleep does more than help us feel rested and refreshed. Our bodies need sleep to function properly. When we sleep, our bodies regenerate damaged tissue and the brain cleanses itself of accumulated toxins.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, that health problems - some serious - can develop when we go without quality sleep for a long period of time.

Research even points to a direct connection between heart failure and insomnia symptoms - yet another reason why we should be taking insomnia seriously and acting without delay to tackle our sleep problems.

Study points to connection between insomnia and heart failure

According to an article published in European Heart Journal, a research team at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim found a rather startling link between heart conditions and insomnia.

The study followed 54,279 men and women between the ages of 20 and 89 for 11 years.

Researchers found that rates of insomnia symptoms, including nighttime awakenings, poor sleep quality and difficulty falling asleep were 73 percent higher in heart failure patients. Additionally, when three or more insomnia symptoms appeared in individuals, they were three times more likely to suffer from heart failure as opposed to those in the study without any forms of insomnia.

Researchers are still looking to see if insomnia raises the risk of future heart failure, or if there is simply a preliminary connection between the two.

A connected circle

Cardiovascular disease and the struggle to sleep have a direct connection, and one may even cause the other. Poor sleep can contribute to the eventual development of cardiovascular disease and those who suffer from heart disease often experience a lack of quality sleep because of it.

Within this cycle, the two conditions feed each other, making both worse over time.

Poor sleep doesn't just increase the risk for heart failure. It has a direct link to high blood pressure, as well as obesity and diabetes. All of these conditions are risk factors for heart failure.

Although insomnia is sometimes seen as just an annoyance, it can be a very serious condition that you need to take control of as quickly as possible.

Take back your life

As noted, sleep is an essential part of life, and allows your body to repair, recharge and regenerate. A lack of sleep over the long term can lead to many different health problems, including heart disease.

If you've been struggling with sleep for more than a month, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Insomnia is not to be ignored.


Laugsand, Lars E. et. al. European Heart Journal."Insomnia and the Risk of Incident Heart Failure: A Population Study." March 5, 2013. Accessed February 02, 2016.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.