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August 27, 2018

Lack of sleep could be as risky for your heart as smoking

Health News Cardiovascular
Woman sleeping in bed Kinga Cichewicz/

Here's one reason to feel less guilty everytime you hit the snooze button: the health of your heart may depend on it.

A new medical study suggests that not sleeping enough can put you at risk for heart disease at a rate on par with the risks associated with smoking.

Though there is much research illustrating some negative effects of insomnia and lack of sleep, such as worsened metabolism, poor mental health, and even making your marriage suffer, a recent study by a team based at Sweden's University of Greifswald delves into how big a factor sleep weighs in heart disease.

A team of scientists collected data from 1,463 men, all born in 1943, performing physical exams and requiring participants to complete a survey about their average amount of sleep, as well as how often they exercise and smoke. The participants were all 50 years old during the first installment of research.

After dividing data into four groups depending on the amount of sleep reported, from five hours or less to more than eight hours, the scientists revisited participants 21 years later. (From seven to eight hours was defined as normal sleep duration.) Problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or coronary revascularization were noted, as well as if the participant had died in the 21-year span from a heart-related condition.

According to research, men with the shortest amount of sleep reported were twice as likely to have had a cardiovascular health problem compared to men who slept a normal amount, even taking into consideration other health risks. Men who got too much sleep ran some increased risks as well. Overall, researchers found that cardiovascular risks of insufficient sleep is comparable to smoking or having diabetes at age 50.

The group of men getting the least sleep were also more likely to experience diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

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