Study Finds Lack Of Sleep Drastically Increases Stroke Risk In Healthy Adults

By admin
July 23, 2012

Feeling tired, run-down, and overworked? Active all day but up all night tossing and turning?

Turns out that getting a good night's sleep isn't just for beauty anymore. A new study finds that getting less than six hours of sleep quadruples the risk of stroke among healthy men and women aged 45 and older.

The study, which followed about 5,600 people for three years, shows that poor sleep not only increases the risk of stroke, but can undermine the other things we do to keep ourselves healthy, such as diet and exercise.

The individuals in the study had no history of stroke, transient ischemic attack (mini stroke) or any signs of stroke, and were at low risk of having obstructive sleep apnea or other factors adversely affecting their sleep. After adjusting body-mass index to account for any weight disparities among participants, researchers found that getting under six hours of sleep was strongly associated with more stroke symptoms in normal-weight adults who were middle-age or older.

According to Dr. Phyllis C. Zee, associate director for Sleep & Circadian Biology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine, chronic sleep deprivation causes changes in the autonomic functions of the body, including blood pressure, heart rate, inflammation and glucose levels.

"It not only affects the blood vessels to the heart and body, but also to the brain."

Experts recommend that people get at least 6 hours of sleep each night, noting that when it comes to their health, sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

While researchers hope that more studies and future research can lead to increased awareness of the importance of sleep on stroke risk, they say simple steps such as modifying behaviors to get you ready for bed earlier, as well as other options such as therapy or drugs, can help get you on track for a full night's sleep, and a healthier, more well-rested body and mind.

[image via Medical Daily]

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