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How does too little sleep affect our health?
Many people don't sleep well for various reasons. This often means that those affected only sleep a few hours a night. Doctors have now found that sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Foundation (CNIC) found in their investigation that people who regularly sleep less than six hours a night at night appear to be at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The doctors published the results of their research work in the English-language journal "Journal of the American College of Cardiology".
What measures were used in the investigation?
In their study, the researchers concentrated on just under 4,000 subjects who had no known heart disease. The average age of the participants was 46 years and two thirds of the subjects were men. The participants wore a so-called actigraph for a period of seven days. Such a device is a non-invasive method for examining human activity and rest cycles. In addition, tests using 3D cardiac ultrasound and cardiac computed tomography were carried out to examine the participants for heart diseases.
Insufficient sleep increased the risk of atherosclerosis by 27 percent
The results of the study showed that people who slept less than six hours a night were 27 percent more likely to develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) compared to people who slept between seven and eight hours at night. With atherosclerosis, plaque accumulates in the arteries of the body.
Protect your heart with adequate sleep
As the study showed, sleep can be seen as a means of fighting heart disease, explains study author José M. Ordovás from the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Foundation (CNIC). If people do not get enough sleep, they endanger the health of their hearts every day, the expert warns.
Sleep quality affects the risk of arteriosclerosis
The quality of sleep is also important to avoid arteriosclerosis. Subjects with poor sleep quality were 34 percent more likely to develop arteriosclerosis compared to people who had good sleep quality, the doctors say.
Other results on the subject
The current investigation is not the first study to suggest that poor sleep and lack of sleep can harm the body. For example, there are three different studies that were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology last September that showed that sleeping six to eight hours a night can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Another study last year found that it is also important what time we go to bed. This joint study by Northwestern University and the University of Surrey found that people who went to bed later had a higher mortality rate than people who went to bed earlier. (as)