Although we spent more than a third of our lives sleeping, we know little about the impact of this biological need on our cardiovascular system. Researchers at the European Society of Cardiology have recently found out that sleeping 6 to 8 hours per night is the most beneficial for the health of our heart. Sleeping more or less is actually detrimental.

The author of the study, Dr. Epameinondas Fountas, presented his findings on August 26th at ESC Congress 2018. By conducting a meta-analysis, researchers investigated the relationship between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease. The meta-analysis consisted of 11 studies of around one million adults without cardiovascular disease. The studies that were taken into consideration were published in the last five years. Participants were divided into three groups – short sleepers, long sleepers, and the reference group. Short sleepers slept less than six hours, and long sleepers more than eight hours a night. Their results were compared to a third, reference group who slept precisely six to eight hours per night. The researchers have found out that both short and long sleepers had a significantly higher risk of developing a heart disease or a stroke dying from or a coronary artery disease. Compared to the reference group (adults who slept six to eight hours a night) short and long sleepers had 11% and 33% greater risks in the next 9.3 years.

To summarize, the findings suggest that both too much and too little sleep may be bad for your heart. Scientists are still not sure why, and they are yet to inspect the influence of sleep on glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation – important factors which have an impact on the development of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Fountas says that experiencing a few odd short nights of sleep are not detrimental to health, but prolonged sleep deprivation, as well as excessive sleeping, should be avoided if you want your heart to stay healthy. The good news for us is that there are many ways to improve your sleep and get the required six to eight hours of a good night’s rest. For a healthy heart, it’s not only vital to eat healthier and be physically active, but also to get the right amount of sleep every night.

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