Sleeping less than six hours and heart disease, stroke: A deadly combo
Middle-aged adults with high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke could be at increased risk for cancer and early death when sleeping less than six hours per day, according to new research from Penn State College of Medicine published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers analyzed data of more than 1,600 adults between 20 and 74 years old who spent one night in the sleep laboratory. Participants were categorized into two groups as having stage 2 high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes, and having heart disease or stroke.
- Of the 512 people who passed away, one-third died of heart disease or stroke and one-fourth died due to cancer.
- People who had high blood pressure or diabetes and slept less than six hours had twice the increased risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
- People who had heart disease or stroke and slept less than six hours had three times the increased risk of dying from cancer.
- The increased risk of early death for people with high blood pressure or diabetes was negligible if they slept for more than six hours.
“Our study suggests that achieving normal sleep may be protective for some people with these health conditions and risks,” said lead study author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, associate professor of psychiatry at the College of Medicine and sleep psychologist at the Sleep Research and Treatment Center at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “However, further research is needed to examine whether improving and increasing sleep through medical or behavioral therapies can reduce the risk of early death.”
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