I never seem to get quite enough sleep, and so many of my friends and co-workers are the same way. With family, work and the world competing
for our attention span and all our waking hours, we seem to have less and less time available for sleep.
Maybe we have a new motivation: that extra hour of sleep is really good for your heart. Time spent asleep helps protect against calcium deposits in your coronary arteries, the very buildup that causes heart attacks.
The study was published this week in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and covered in depth by news services. The scientists from the University of Chicago found that for each additional hour of sleep, the risk of calcification of the coronary arteries decreased by 33 percent.
From the story:
"The authors do not know why sleep seems to be associated with less calcification; however, they propose three possible explanations.
"First, there may be unknown factors common to both sleep and heart disease -- factors the researchers did not know to measure.
"Second, inflammation elsewhere in the body increases the risk of calcification, and this effect can be influenced by the body's natural anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol. This hormone is released in sync with a person's sleep patterns. Increased time asleep might increase the release of cortisol -- which, in turn, might reduce inflammation and, therefore, calcium deposits.
"Third, blood pressure declines during sleep. Thus, it might be the case that the longer people sleep, the less their heart is exposed to elevated blood pressure."
Here's a link to the full story:
And here's the JAMA article itself:
During a week in which bunches of us stayed up late to help Santa Claus, we have an even better reason now to catch up over the weekend!
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.