Too much or too little sleep dangerous for heart

Optimal sleep time is 7-8 hours, with this time the risk of stroke and heart attack is lowest. But those who sleep less than six hours and more than eight hours steadily risk acquiring serious heart problems. The results of the study, conducted by scientists from the University of Athens (Greece), will be presented at the American College of Cardiology within the World Congress of Cardiologists.

Specialists have analyzed data on the health of more than one and a half thousand residents of Greece, the average age of which was from 40 to 98 years, and interviewed them about the usual duration of night sleep. Then the participants were divided into 3 groups: people with the normal length of sleep (7-8 hours), those who sleep very little (6-7 hours), those who sleep very little (less than six hours), and those who spend a lot of time sleeping (more than eight hours a day). 

Also, all volunteers have undergone an ultrasound examination to determine the thickness of the carotid artery walls. This was necessary to calculate the degree of atherosclerosis and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disasters (the thicker the carotid wall, the higher the risk of heart attacks and strokes).

Analysis of all the data showed that there is a link between the length of night sleep and the risk of heart pathologies, which can be displayed on a U-shaped graph. Those who sleep regularly for less than six hours or more than eight hours were found to have an increased probability of thickening of the carotid artery walls, reducing its flexibility and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in it by 54% and 39% respectively.

The authors of the study point out that the duration of sleep is as important a risk factor for GCC development as nutrition and physical activity.

It is not yet clear which biological mechanisms underlie this pattern - this is to be clarified in future studies. In the meantime, experts recommend that sufficient time be devoted to sleep.

March 20, 2020, 2:19 p.m.

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