Sleep and sleep disorders are related to cardiovascular disease, and microvascular function is an early cardiovascular disease marker. Therefore, the relationship of sleep (measured in sleep quality and duration) with microvascular function was examined in healthy adults. Sleep quality was assessed with the validated Sleep Wake Experience List (SWEL) questionnaire. Duration of sleep was self-reported in an additional question. Microvascular function was measured using nailfold capillaroscopy. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between sleep and microvascular function. Potential confounders included physical activity, smoking, blood pressure, body mass index and several biochemical parameters. Analyses were performed in 259 participants (116 men). For women reporting insufficient (<7 h) sleep duration, microvascular function (post-ischaemic capillary recruitment) was significantly lower (b = -11.17; P = 0.04) compared to women reporting sufficient sleep duration. There was no relationship between sleep quality and microvascular function in females. In males, a trend towards lower capillary recruitment was found in those reporting a combination of poor sleep quality and insufficient duration (b = -7.54; P = 0.09), compared to those reporting good sleep quality as well as sufficient duration. This study suggests an association between sleep and microvascular function. Which aspects of sleep exactly affect microvascular function, and if indeed the association is different between males and females in other samples, needs further research.
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