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Not Too Much, Not Too Little, Just Right: Sleep and Your Heart

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 your heart benefits from not too much or too little sleep iStockphoto/Thinkstock

How much sleep does your average day afford? Does your sleep meter clock less than six hours a day several times a week, because of the lifestyle you lead? Or perhaps your sleep mileage is more than eight hours a day?

There has always been a correlation between the duration of our sleep and heart health, and if data from new research is to be believed, then too little as well as too much sleep, spells trouble for our heart.

A study was conducted by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on more than 3,000 adults over the age of 45 years.

Data emerged after analysis that sleeping under six hours every day increased the person’s risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke by twice as much as those getting adequate sleep. They were 1.6 times more likely of experiencing congestive heart failure.

Similarly, clocking beyond eight hours put the person at twice as much risk of developing angina as an ordinary sleeper and 1.1 times more likely to get coronary artery disease. The findings of the study were presented at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session. (1)

According to Rohit R. Arora, MD, FACC, chairman of cardiology and professor of medicine, the Chicago Medical School, and the study's principal investigator, “We now have an indication that sleep can impact heart health, and it should be a priority. Based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk for cardiovascular disease over the long term.” (2)

Previous studies have already established a direct link between getting insufficient sleep and the increased risk of developing conditions which are associated with cardiovascular diseases such as glucose intolerance, diabetes and an increase in cortisone levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate and inflammatory markers.

The study entitled "Sleep Patterns and Prevalence of Cardiovascular Outcomes- Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey" pointed at a few possible discrepancies of the study.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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