Are you, or do you know someone who is at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke? Sleeping too much or too little can actually increase your chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke, according to recent findings.
It does sound perplexing. How can sleeping too much increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke?
Six to Seven Hours of Sleep
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that sleep does play a role in cardiovascular disease. They found that sleeping six to seven hours actually lowers your risk of a heart attack or stroke. They also found that sleeping less than six hours or more than seven hours increases you chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke or die from atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, within the next 10 years.
In the study, the researchers analyzed data from over 14,000 participants in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They followed the participants for an average of 7.5 years to determine if they died due to heart attack, heart failure or stroke.
They also asked the participants the average length of sleep they had each night. They used a system called the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores to determine how likely someone is to die from cardiovascular disease.
ASCVD risk score accounts for age, gender, race, blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s widely used to determine how likely someone is to have a heart attack or stroke or die from atherosclerosis.
The study showed that ASCVD scores were lowest for participants with six to seven hours of sleep. This means sleeping six to seven hours a night can decrease you chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.
In addition, the researchers also found that levels of a protein called CRP was also higher in people who slept less or more than the six to seven hour nightly range. The level of CRP rises when there is inflammation in the body.
The results of this study was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session in May 2021.
Easy Way to Lower Cardiovascular Risk
What these results really mean is that there appears to be an easy way to lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Basically just try to get around six to seven hours of sleep a night.
Don’t deprive yourself of sleep by sleeping less than six hours a night. However, don’t overdo things and sleep too much every night. Six to seven hours a night is the sweet spot. Your cardiovascular health will thank you.