Sleeping Long Enough To Save Your Life
If have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke, getting less than six hours of sleep at night makes the difference between life and death. A study from the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine found that among the more than 1,600 people participating those who had high blood pressure or diabetes and slept less than six hours a night had twice the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. But this increased risk was negligible when people with these conditions regularly slept longer than six hours. The study also showed that people who had heart disease or stroke and slept less than six hours had three times the increased risk of dying from cancer. Study leader Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., a sleep psychologist and professor at the medical school suggested that short sleep duration “should be included as a useful risk factor to predict the long-term outcomes of people with these health conditions.” He added that better identification of people with specific sleep issues would “potentially lead to improved prevention, more complete treatment approaches, better long-term outcomes and less healthcare usage.”
My take? We know that adequate sleep is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle, and accumulating research suggests that it plays an even larger role in health than we once thought. According to the National Sleep Foundation not getting enough sleep puts you at higher risk of heart disease regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. A study from the University of Pennsylvania published in 2013 found that people who slept less than five hours a night are more likely to be obese and to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Julio Fernandez-Mendoza et al, “Interplay of Objective Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases on Cause‐Specific Mortality,” Journal of the American Heart Association, October 2019, doi.org/10.1161.JAHA119.013043
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