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Sleep: Too Much or Too Little Hurts the Heart

May 21st, 2012

sleepWe all know that lack of sleep or sleeping less than 6 hours a day is detrimental to our health. It is known to increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke by two times. But did you know that sleeping too much can be just as bad?

A new study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
has found that sleeping beyond eight hours also puts a person in twice as much risk of developing angina and coronary artery disease. The study was conducted involving 3,000 adults over the age of 45 years.

“We now have an indication that sleep can impact heart health, and it should be a priority. Based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk for cardiovascular disease over the long term,”says Rohit R. Arora, MD, chairman of cardiology and professor of medicine, the Chicago Medical School, and the study’s principal investigator.

Sleeping under six hours puts a person at risk for developing cardiovascular diseases like glucose intolerance and diabetes.

Those that sleep more than  eight hours complained of chest pain and are more likely to develop coronary artery disease.

“Based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk of cardiovascular disease over the long term,” said Dr. Rohit Arora.

However according to the National Health Interview Survey (1984-2000), six percent of US adults sleep six hours or less.

“Sleep has a large impact on health over long periods of time,” said Dr. C. Noel Bairey-Merz, director of women’s health center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Based on the discovery of this study, researchers are suggesting that doctors should start asking patients about their sleeping pattern.

This study is one of the largest  with regards to sleep and its health effects involving 3,000 adults above 45 years old.

For more information on healthy sleeping habits talk to your health care provider or contact your health insurance company to locate a provider in your area.

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