Sleep deprivation increases risk for heart disease, studies show
- A trio of new studies show that too little or too much sleep is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Sleeping less than five hours per night raises the risk for a heart attack or stroke by about the same degree as smoking does, according one study in older men.
- This adds to a significant body of evidence that suggests regular sleep is essential for health.
Most of us know that not getting enough sleep is bad for us.
Yet many people believe their busy lives require that they skimp on sleep. As Elon Musk recently posted on Twitter at 2:30 a.m. (after being criticized by Ariana Huffington for working so many hours and sleeping so few), “I just got home from the factory. You think this is an option. It is not.”
But the lengthy list of negative ways that lack of sleep affects your body and brain continues to grow. According to several new studies presented Sunday at a meeting of the European Study of Cardiology, getting too little – or too much – sleep is associated with significant increased risk for cardiovascular problems including hardened arteries, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and more.
“We spend one-third of our lives sleeping yet we know little about the impact of this biological need on the cardiovascular system,” Dr. Epameinondas Fountas, one of the authors of a meta-analysis about the best amount of sleep for heart health, said in a news release.
Fountas’ team looked at 11 studies with more than 1 million participants, and their findings shed more light on the impacts of sleep deprivation. The results give us even more reasons to try to fit enough sleep into our lives.