When comedian Rosie O'Donnell was a host on "The View," she revealed that her doctor said sleep apnea caused her to experience around 200 micro-awakenings every night as she gasped for air.
Years later, in 2012, 50-year-old Rosie she suffered a serious heart attack because of a 99% blockage in the left anterior descending artery of her heart.
It may be no coincidence that she had both sleep apnea and suffered a heart attack. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers who tracked nearly 2,000 adults ages 45 to 84 for six years suspect the sleep irregularities-cardiovascular disease link comes from disturbances to the body's circadian rhythm. Metabolic disturbances may also play a role.
Another study of theirs showed that insufficient sleep can raise your risk for metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.
That’s why you should check in with a sleep specialist if you have loud, persistent snoring, wake up frequently during the night, or have trouble falling asleep. The doctor can have you go through an overnight sleep study that identifies disorders such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome or insomnia, as well as sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder.
And you know advice for better: No digital devices in the bedroom; keep it at 65 F; go to bed and get up at the same time every day; and get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily.