Research Summary

Insomnia Symptoms Associated With an Increased Risk of Stroke

Jessica Ganga

Symptoms of insomnia—such as trouble falling asleep—are associated with an increased risk of stroke, especially in adults aged 50 years and younger, according to a recent study.

Insomnia is a common condition that affects more than a third of the population in the United States. Researchers sought to find an association between insomnia symptoms and the incidence of stroke as this area of research was understudied.

Researchers utilized data from the Health and Retirement Study that surveyed individuals older than 50 years and their spouses from 2002 to 2020 (n = 31,126). Data from individuals who were stroke-free at baseline were included in the study and participants self-reported sleep-related factors including difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, waking up too early and nonrestorative sleep.

When compared with those with no insomnia symptoms, an increased risk of stroke was observed with insomnia symptom scores ranging from 1 to 4 (less severe) and 5 to 8 (more severe). Further, the association was stronger in individuals aged 50 years and younger (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.84, 95% CI 1.50 – 9.85) when compared with those aged 50 years and older (HR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.62). Additionally, the association between insomnia symptoms and stroke was mediated by the following disease states: diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and depression.

“Increased awareness and management of insomnia symptoms may contribute to the prevention of stroke occurrence,” the researchers concluded.



Sawadogo W, Adera T, Alattar M, Perera R, Burch JB. Association between insomnia symptoms and trajectory with the risk of stroke in the health and retirement study. Neurology. Published online June 7, 2023. doi:10.121/WBL.0000000000207449