New research shows that lack of sleep apparently can increase the risk for stroke and heart attack. British researchers for this study, analyzed data collected from more than 470,000 people in eight countries, including the United States. The study was published Feb. 8 in the European Heart Journal.
Dr. Francesco Cappuccio, of the Warwick Medical School in England and a co-author of the research said, “If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48 percent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 percent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke.” “The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions,” he added.
According to co-author Dr. Michelle Miller “chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body which increase the risk of developing heart disease and strokes, and other conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity”. Not having enough sleep disrupts the balance of two key hormones, ghrelin and leptin, which control the appetite.
Cappuccio explains, “There is an expectation in today’s society to fit more into our lives…The whole work/life balance struggle is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us…But in doing so we are significantly increasing the risk of suffering a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease resulting in, for example, heart attacks.” Getting about seven hours of sleep a night can be enough to protect one from developing chronic disease, he advised. But they also warned that sleeping more than nine hours every night may be an early warning sign of heart disease.