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Sleep medicine and the cardiologist
  1. Zarrin Shaikh
  1. Cardiology, Ashford and Saint Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust, Chertsey KT16 0PZ, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zarrin Shaikh, Cardiology, Ashford and Saint Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust, Chertsey KT16 0PZ, UK; zarrin{at}

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Sleep is fundamental to cardiac health, yet despite this Cardiologists have little to no exposure to sleep medicine. Given the relationship between sleep disruption and cardiovascular disease, education in sleep would be of great benefit to both trainees and consultants. This article will provide an overview of sleep and sleep medicine, highlight why sleep is important in cardiac disease and discuss how to gain more experience in this field.

As humans we spend one third of our lives sleeping. This complex, dynamic interplay of neural, hormonal and metabolic activity is fundamental to good health and our biological need for it is irrefutable.

Sleep medicine has seen phenomenal advances over the last few decades. The advent of polysomnography accelerated learning as it allowed sleep to be measured. We now understand that sleep has two distinct phases: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, each with their own characteristic pattern of brain activity. NREM is restorative and allows for the consolidation of fact-based memories. REM is associated with dreaming and processing emotional memories. Interestingly …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.