Features July 2011 Issue

Improve the Quality and Duration of Sleep to Lower Heart Risk

Research indicates a substantial increase in cardiovascular risk if you sleep less that seven hours and have frequently interrupted sleep.

You may know how a poor night’s sleep affects your mental focus the next day, but repeated nights of little sleep can pose a huge risk to your heart, too. A study presented at the EuroPRevent 2011 conference in April was the first to look not just at how short sleep duration affects cardiovascular health, but how poor quality sleep also contributes to greater heart risk. Sleeping less than seven hours, on average, has been shown to be unhealthy for your heart. But when insufficient sleep time is combined with a night of frequent sleep interruptions or a shortage of time in the deeper, restorative stages of sleep, researchers found that the risk for cardiovascular disease can be 65 percent higher than for people who sleep at least seven hours and feel rested when they wake up the next day.

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