Features June 2012 Issue

Research Explains How Sleep Duration Affects the Heart

Even sleeping too many hours a night can be hazardous.

Getting too little or too much sleep can mean trouble for your heart. A study presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in March found that sleeping less than six hours a night significantly raises the risk of stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Individuals who sleep more than eight hours a night have a higher prevalence of angina, coronary artery disease and other heart problems. This latest study underscores evidence from earlier research that has linked insufficient sleep with changes in blood pressure, resting heart rate, glucose intolerance and the hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system—all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.

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