_Study Says Sleeping Less Than 7 Hours Can Cause Heart Attacks Or Strokes

A new study says that sleeping less than 7 hours can risk your health and cause heart attacks, strokes and even obesity and diabetes. Read more on the story after the jump!

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the largest physician-based organization for sleep medicine and they suggest that adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Even though many of us know that we should get at least seven hours of sleep, a study last month showed that many Americans today are sleeping less. The average amount of sleep they reported getting a night has dropped from 7.4 hours in 1985 to 7.29 hours in 1990 to 7.18 in 2004 and 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called not getting enough sleep a public health epidemic. Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and a professor of neurology at the University of Washington, said “it was quite clear that seven to nine hours was good.” Watson said getting less than six hours of sleep a night or less was associated with performance, including mental alertness and driving ability, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Getting less sleep can also increase blood pressure.

There have been reports that sleeping nine hours or more a night is associated with increased risk of death. James Gangwisch, a sleep researcher at Columbia University said people who slept nine hours or more had more to do with the fact that they had underlying illnesses that ultimately killed them. Reports of sleeping a lot also may indicate that someone is not exercising or socializing enough, which can be a health risk. If you have a hard time sleeping, then going to sleep and waking up at about the same time every day can help as well as making your bedroom dark and cool and avoiding drinking caffeine close to bedtime.

Getting bad sleep can also be just as harmful as not getting enough sleep. About 10% of adults have chronic insomnia; obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 24% of men and 9% of women. Watson says that obstructive sleep apnea can increase blood pressure, deprive the body of oxygen, cause irregular heartbeat and make the blood more sticky. A study from the European Society of Cardiology says that men who had a sleep disorder were between 2 and 2.6 times more likely to have a heart attack and 1.5 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke over the 14-year period of the study.

Watson goes on to say that, “Some people view sleep as an obstruction to success, and we would rather have people view it as a tool for success…We really want people to prioritize their sleep and understand that it is as important to their overall well being as diet and exercise.”


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