Help with the Headlines: Sleep and Heart Health
A study published March 16, 2016 in the International Journal of Cardiology found that compared with people who slept between six and eight hours a night, the risk of dying of coronary heart disease was greater for people who slept less than four hours a night and more than eight hours a night, particularly for women and older adults. It was reported March 8, 2016 in Medical Daily.
At the outset, subjects reported how long they sleep as fitting into one of four categories: between zero and four hours, between four and six hours, between six and eight hours, or greater than eight hours.
Researchers determined death from coronary heart disease through a Taiwanese government database that tracks causes of death for the population.
The researchers estimated the association of sleep duration with death from coronary heart disease while controlling for various factors that affect the risk for coronary heart disease mortality. These factors included education, marital status, age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity level, and previous cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
The authors found that too much or too little sleep is linked with an increased risk of certain types of heart problems. Sleeping less than four hours or more than eight hours a night is associated with an increase in the risk of dying from coronary heart disease, such as heart attacks and unstable angina. Women and the elderly who sleep too little or too much were particularly at risk.
There was a 50 percent increase in death in participants who slept fewer than four hours compared with participants who slept between six and eight hours. After adjusting for other risk factors, the risk of heart-related death still increased by 36 percent.
Individuals who slept more than eight hours a night had a 53 percent increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease compared with participants who slept between six and eight hours per night. After adjusting for other risk factors, the risk was still 28 percent higher for those sleeping more than eight hours. The increased risk was not explained by the use of sleep medications.
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