According to latest research presented at the 2012 American College of Cardiology conference, people getting too little sleep were two times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack and 1.6 times more likely to have congestive heart failure.
Insufficient sleep has previously been linked to the hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, glucose intolerance, diabetes and an increase in cortisone levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate and inflammatory markers – all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.
“We now have an indication that sleep can impact heart health, and it should be a priority,” said Rohit R. Arora, MD, FACC, chairman of cardiology and professor of medicine, the Chicago Medical School, and the study’s principal investigator. “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.”
Longer measured sleep is associated with lower calcium build-up in the heart arteries independent of other factors, according to a study published earlier in the JAMA.