Women, please take note. Even if you are having mild sleep problems, such as having trouble falling asleep, it can raise your blood pressure, a new study suggests.
The study found that women who had mild sleep problems — including those who slept for seven to nine hours a night, as measured by a wristwatch-like device — were significantly more likely to have elevated blood pressure.
The researchers also found an association between endothelial inflammation and mild sleep disturbances.
“Our findings suggest that mild sleep problems could possibly initiate the vascular endothelial inflammation that’s a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Brooke Aggarwal from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
According to the researchers, nearly one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep and for women, the problem may be even bigger.
“That’s concerning, since studies have shown that sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems may have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women,” Aggarwal added.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers examined blood pressure and sleep habits in 323 healthy women.
Mild sleep disturbances — poor-quality sleep, taking longer to fall asleep, and insomnia — were nearly three times more common than severe sleep disturbances, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Some of the women allowed the researchers to extract a few endothelial cells from inside an arm vein to look for a pro-inflammatory protein that is implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. (IANS)
New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.
Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.
Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.
“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”
Reported crimes up 80 percent
Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.
The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.
The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.
“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.
The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.
Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.
Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.
Apps are promising
But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.
“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”
Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.
“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)