Short and Poor Sleepers Have a Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Mar. 20, 2013

Science Daily/Wageningen University and Research Centre

People who sleep poorly or not long enough have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This does not apply to people who sleep less than 6 hours, but wake up feeling fit and rested. Researchers from Wageningen University and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) studied the link between the duration and quality of sleep and the incidence of cardiovascular disease among a group of 20.000 people.

The research team concluded that people who sleep for less than 6 hours and who also sleep badly are doubly unfortunate. The research showed that this group has a 65% higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared with people who sleep soundly for seven to eight hours. Short sleepers who wake up feeling fit and rested have the same chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke as longer sleepers.

The findings imply that sleep can be added to the list of traditional positive lifestyle factors (healthy eating habits, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption and sufficient physical activity). People who follow these 'lifestyle rules' have a 57% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and their chance of dying from cardiovascular disease is 2/3 lower.

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