Having problems falling asleep may mean that you're headed toward metabolic syndrome, a combination of physical symptoms that raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. For some, loud snoring may indicate a doubled risk of metabolic syndrome (difficulty falling asleep raises the risk by 80 percent). The risk also increases - by 70 percent - among those who report unrefreshing sleep. All this news comes from a study published in the December 1, 2010, issue of Sleep. Investigators studied 812 adults ages 45 to 74 for three years to assess the relationship between sleeping problems and the risk of metabolic syndrome, which has symptoms including excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, low HDL (the "good" cholesterol), high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The researchers reported that loud snoring was associated with the development of high blood sugar and low HDL in particular, but noted that other sleeping problems were only generally predictive of metabolic syndrome. Other sleeping problems weren't associated with the development of any particular symptoms comprising metabolic syndrome but were associated with a higher risk of the syndrome itself. The researchers said that their findings suggest that physicians should screen patients for sleep complaints during routine visits.
Learn more about insomnia, one of the more common sleep issues.