Researchers claim to have figured out why lack of sleep increases susceptibility to heart diseases.
According to the study published in the Journal of Experimental Physiology, chronic short sleep is associated with increased risk of clogged arteries, heart disease, and thus increased morbidity and mortality.
Doctors have also identified the patients who might need to change their habits before they develop the disease.
In adults who regularly slept fewer than 7 hours per night, the levels of certain microRNAs (molecules that influence whether or not a gene is expressed) were lower.
These molecules play a key role in regulating vascular health and thus their levels are now recognised to be sensitive and specific biomarkers of cardiovascular health, inflammation and disease.
In other words, a lowered level of these molecules is associated with heart disease, so they could be used as a biomarker to determine who is more susceptible to disease.
Researchers tested sedentary, middle-aged adults without heart disease then they were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to accurately estimate average nightly sleep and a small amount of blood was taken from each subject after an overnight fast.
Jamie Hijmans, one of the authors of the study, said: "The link between insufficient sleep and cardiovascular disease may be due to, in part, changes in microRNAs. These findings suggest there may be a "fingerprint" associated with a person's sleep habits, and that fluctuations in microRNA levels may serve as a warning or guide to disease stage and progression."