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Early to bed is healthy and wise

U. WARWICK (UK) — Not getting enough sleep or having sleep interrupted can have serious, long-term effects on overall health, leading to stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disorders.

“If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48 percent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 percent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke,” says Francesco Cappuccio, professor at the University of Warwick.

“The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.”

The new study is reported in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers followed up evidence from seven to 25 years from more than 470,000 participants from eight countries including Japan, the US, Sweden and the UK.

“There is an expectation in today’s society to fit more into our lives,” Cappuccio says.  “The whole work/life balance struggle is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us.

“But in doing so, we are significantly increasing the risk of suff
ering a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease resulting in, for example, heart attacks.”

“Chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body which increase the risk of developing heart disease and strokes, and other conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity,” says Professor Michelle Miller.

The researchers warn of the implications of going too far the other way, and sleeping too much—more than nine hours at a stretch—that may be an indicator of illness, including cardiovascular disease.

“By ensuring you have about seven hours sleep a night, you are protecting your future health, and reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses,” Cappuccio says. “The link is clear from our research: get the sleep you need to stay healthy and live longer.”

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