Sleeping for less than 6 hours at night increases the risk of heart disease when compared to those who slept for 7-8 hours, says a new study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study further says that the risk of atherosclerosis associated with poor quality sleep and this risk is not just limited to the heart, but is also seen in arteries throughout the body.
The study included around 4000 bank employees in Spain from the PESA CNIC- Santander Study. All participants had no known heart disease. Their sleep was measured with an actigraph following which they were categorized into four groups: those who slept <6 hours, those who slept 6-7 hours, those who slept 7-8 hours and those who slept >8 hours.
A higher risk of atherosclerosis was observed in the groups who slept for <6 hours and for >8 hours a night.
Those who slept for <6 hours had 27% greater risk of atherosclerosis throughout the body compared with those who slept 7-8 hours.
Participants who had a poor quality of sleep were 34% more likely to have atherosclerosis compared with those who had a good quality of sleep. Women who slept more than eight hours a night had an increased risk of atherosclerosis.
These observations indicate that 7-8 hours of sleep is enough to maintain optimal health.
Sleep deprivation is also associated with hypertension, diabetes, stroke, obesity, chronic kidney disease; it also affects relationships and decreases performance at school and work productivity. The result is a poor quality of life.
The body heals itself during sleep; memory consolidation occurs during sleep i.e. the brain processes the information learnt in the day and stores it.
It is therefore essential that the public be educated about good sleep habits and the importance of getting adequate sleep every day.
(Source: ACC News Release)
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA