How much sleep you should get to reduce your risk of stroke
Good sleep reduces the risk of stroke, according to a new study
French researchers defined as the best type of sleep, the one that lasts 7-8 hours. They also note that good sleepers rarely wake up and toss and turn during the night.
Scientists tracked the nighttime habits of 7.000 people over 50 to come up with the connection.
The study, which lasted almost 10 years, showed that people with the best sleep quality were 75% less likely to have a stroke.
Experts say that most strokes, as well as many heart diseases, can be prevented if people sleep well.
The author of the study, Dr. Aboubakari Nambiema, from France's National Institute for Health and Medical Research, said: "The importance of sleep quality and quantity for heart health should be taught in the first years of life, when healthy behaviors are learned. "Minimizing nighttime noise and work stress can help improve sleep."
Dozens of studies have linked insufficient sleep to heart disease and high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
It is not clear how sleep helps the heart. But not getting enough sleep increases the risk of developing unhealthy habits that can damage the heart, such as poor diet and physical inactivity.
Dr. Nambiema and colleagues looked at the sleep habits of 7.200 participants who had been included in a previous study.
The volunteers, aged 50 to 75, underwent a physical examination and were asked about their sleep habits and medical history.
They provided information on sleep duration, whether they were morning types, and whether they suffered from insomnia, sleep apnea, or daytime fatigue.
For each of these five factors, they received one point if their sleep was the best it could be and none if it wasn't.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, being a morning person, and not having insomnia, daytime sleepiness, or sleep apnea was worth five points.
The researchers followed the participants and compared their scores with cases of heart disease and stroke.
They found that 10% of participants had the best sleep score and 8% the worst.
During the study, 274 people had coronary heart disease or stroke.
Those who scored five were 75% less likely to develop a heart problem, compared to those who scored 0 or 1.
Each unit increase in the score was associated with a 22% reduction in risk.
The findings suggest heart disease and stroke could be reduced by 72% for those who sleep well, the researchers said.
It was also found that for each unit the score increased over time, the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke decreased by 7%.
Dr Nambiema said: “Our study shows the potential of sleeping well to maintain heart health and that improved sleep is associated with lower risks of coronary heart disease and stroke. We also found that the vast majority of people have difficulty sleeping. With cardiovascular disease being a leading cause of death worldwide, greater awareness is needed about the importance of good sleep in maintaining a healthy heart.”
The findings were presented Saturday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.