Seven Hours Of Sleep Best For Heart Health

Posted on Aug 16, 2010 in Cardiovascular Health

Not getting enough sleep? Getting too much? You may be increasing your chances of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the August 1 edition of the scientific journal SLEEP.

In the study, Doctors Charumathi Sabanayagam and Anoop Shankar of the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine determined that seven hours of sleep is the optimal amount for heart health, according to a statement released on Sunday by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), publishers of SLEEP.

Analyzing data from more than 30,000 adults who participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey, Sabanayagam and Shankar discovered that those who slept five total hours per day (including naps) had more than twice the risk of suffering from angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke than those who slept a total of seven hours each day. 

Those who slept nine hours or more each day also had an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease–they were one and a half times more susceptible, according to the report. They also discovered an “elevated but less dramatic risk” of cardiovascular health issues in those who slept for either six or eight hours each day, according to the press release.

“The most at-risk group was adults under 60 years of age who slept five hours or fewer a night. They increased their risk of developing cardiovascular disease more than threefold compared to people who sleep seven hours,” AFP reporter Karin Zeitvogel wrote on Sunday. “Women who skimped on sleep, getting five hours or fewer a day, including naps, were more than two-and-a-half times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.”

“The authors of the WVU study were unable to determine the causal relationship between how long a person sleeps and cardiovascular disease,” Zeitvogel added. “But they pointed out that sleep duration affects endocrine and metabolic functions, and sleep deprivation can lead to impaired glucose tolerance, reduced insulin sensitivity and elevated blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of hardening the arteries.”