Morning impairment in vascular function is unrelated to overnight sleep or the inactivity that accompanies sleep

Saurabh S. Thosar, Alec M. Berman, Maya X. Herzig, Sally A. Roberts, Michael R. Lasarev, Steven A. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Adverse cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death, occur more frequently in the morning. Prior studies have shown that vascular endothelial function (VEF), a marker of cardiovascular disease, is attenuated during physical inactivity and declines across the night. We sought to determine whether a morning attenuation in VEF is a result of prior sleep or the inactivity that inevitably accompanies sleep. After 1 wk of a rigorously controlled sleep-wake schedule and behaviors, 10 healthy participants completed a randomized crossover protocol in dim light and constant conditions, incorporating a night of 6 h of sleep opportunity and a night of immobility while they were supine and awake. VEF was measured in the dominant brachial artery as flow mediated dilation (FMD) before and after each 6-h trial. To avoid disturbing sleep and posture of the participants, blood was drawn using a 12-ft catheter from an adjoining laboratory room before, during, and after each 6-h trial, and plasma was analyzed for markers of oxidative stress [malondialdehyde ad-ducts (MDA)], and endothelin-1. Contrary to expectation, both nocturnal sleep and nocturnal inactivity significantly increased FMD (P < 0.05). There was no significant change in MDA or endothelin-1 within and between trials. Contrary to expectations based on prior studies, we found that overnight sleep or the inactivity that accompanies sleep did not result in attenuation in VEF in the morning hours in healthy people. Thus, it is plausible that the endogenous circadian system, a remaining factor not studied here, is responsible for the commonly observed decline in VEF across the night.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R986-R993
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Flow mediated dilation
  • Morning cardiovascular risk
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sleep loss
  • Vascular endothelial function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Morning impairment in vascular function is unrelated to overnight sleep or the inactivity that accompanies sleep'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this