As per the study, led by Rice University and Northwestern University and published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, people who have recently lost a spouse are more likely to have sleep disturbances that exacerbate levels of inflammation in the body and these elevated levels of inflammation may increase the risk of cardiovascular illness and death. The study compared the self-reported sleep habits of recently widowed people to a control group. Both groups had sleep disturbances, such as insomnia.
The researchers found that the link between sleep disturbances and inflammation was two to three times higher for the bereaved spouses. Corresponding author Diana Chirinos said the study suggests that these bereaved individuals are more susceptible to the negative health effects of poor sleep. "The death of a spouse is an acutely stressful event and they have to adapt to living without the support of the spouse," she said. "Add sleep disturbance to their already stressful situation and you double the stressor. As a result, their immune system is more over activated."
Chirinos said she and her fellow researchers already knew that widowed individuals had higher levels of inflammation. Prior work revealed that in the first six months after the loss of a spouse, widows, and widowers are at a 41 percent higher risk of mortality, and 53 percent of this increased risk is due to cardiovascular disease. However, they wanted to find the specific cause. "Now we know it's not the grief itself; it is the sleep disturbance that arises from that grief," Chirinos said.
7 Sleep-Inducing Foods That May Help You Catch Up On Sound Sleep
1. Almonds: Rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. A recent study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that low magnesium levels make sleep more difficult.
2. Chamomile tea: Steeped five minutes with a teaspoon of honey, this increases the glycaemic index while acting like a mild sedative to aid relaxation.
3. Cherry juice: Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester say that drinking this before bed will bring on sleep quickly, as cherries boost melatonin levels.
4. Honey: Raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. Have a spoonful of honey as is before bed or mix it in chamomile tea or yogurt. This may give you a more restful sleep.
5. Lettuce: Soak three pieces of lettuce in hot water for 15 minutes and drink it before bedtime. Lettuce contains lactucarium, the milky fluid secreted at the base of a lettuce leaf, which has been reported to cause a mild sensation of euphoria.
6. Passion-fruit tea: Contains a harmala alkaloid found in high levels in the passion flower. This is a naturally occurring beta-carboline alkaloid that quiets the nervous system. Drinking a cup one hour before bedtime will help induce a sounder sleep.
7. Warm milk: Warm milk can help you sleep, but so can any dairy product ingested before bedtime, including cheese and yogurt. Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. It also plays a role in regulating muscle movements, quieting the muscles.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.