Sleep Duration Linked to Heart Health

August 4, 2010

in Health News

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By Rachel Stockton

No one can dispute the restorative value of sleep, but not only is a lack of sleep detrimental, so is getting too much of it. In fact, studies have conclusively shown a link between long and short sleep duration and both diabetes and hypertension.

Now, a new study conducted by the West Virginia school of Medicine shows that sleep duration has an impact on cardiovascular health. Dr. Anoop Shankar, associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine led the team which discovered the association.

Study Details

The team looked at data collected in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey; more than 30,000 adults over the age of 18 were analyzed.

According to the journal Sleep, which is currently publishing the study, 2,146 of the participants had cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, angina, and stroke. Eight percent of them claimed to get 5 hours of sleep or less per night, while 9% got more than 9 hours.

The researchers found that those who slept more than 9 hours per night were 1.5 times more likely to experience heart attack and stroke, while adults under the age of 60 who slept only 5 hours had a threefold increased risk over those who consistently got 7 hours per night.

In the study abstract, the team concludes, “Compared with sleep duration of 7h, there was a positive association between both shorter and longer sleep durations and CVD in a represetative sample of US adults. These results suggest that sleep duration may be an important marker of CVD.”

Sleep Statistics

And, speaking of sleep, according to the Sleep Research Society’s Spring 2010 bulletin, there are significant differences between varying ethnic groups when it comes to nocturnal rest. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll in March of 2010 among Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics and Whites; here’s some of what they discovered:

  • Asians report getting the “best” sleep
  • African-Americans get the least amount of sleep, but also say they don’t need as much
  • Hispanics are most likely to lose sleep over financial worries and personal/relationship problems
  • Whites are more likely than other ethnic groups to sleep with a pet.

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