Sleep duration: Increase risk of cardiovascular issues

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According to research that will be presented at the upcoming American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, sleeping too much or too little has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular events.

“Sleep is often overlooked as something that may play a role in cardiovascular disease, and it may be one of the most cost-effective ways to lower cardiovascular risk.” said lead author Kartik Gupta, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, in a press release. “Our data show that sleeping six to seven hours a night is associated with better heart health.”

The researchers looked at the rates of cardiovascular events in 14,709 people who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. The average patient was 46 years old, half of the patients were female, and 47% were white. Patients were followed for a median of 7.5 years, and deaths from a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke were recorded. At the outset, less than 10% had a history of cardiovascular events. Patients were divided into groups based on their average length of sleep. The researchers used atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores and C-reactive protein levels (CRP), an inflammatory marker, to assess cardiovascular risk.

The overall cohort’s median ASCVD risk was 3.5 %. When stratified by sleep duration, the median 10-year ASCVD risk was 4.6 % for those sleeping less than six hours per night, 3.3% for those sleeping six to seven hours, and 3.3% for those sleeping more than seven hours.

Sleeping less than six hours or more than seven hours was linked to a higher risk of death from cardiac-related causes. CRP levels were also highest in those who slept more or less than six to seven hours per night.

According to the authors, is that it focuses on sleep quantity rather than quality. “It is critical to discuss not only the amount of sleep but also the depth and quality of sleep,” said Dr Gupta. “Just because you’ve been sleeping for seven hours doesn’t mean you’re getting good quality sleep.”

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