Heart Disease Tied to Sleeping Too Little, Too Much

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2013 04:43 PM

By Nick Tate

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In what might be called the "Goldilocks scenario," federal sleep specialists have determined getting too much or too little sleep can both increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and anxiety.
 
The findings, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests getting just the right amount of sleep — not less than six hours or more than 10 each night — is the best way to boost your health and guard against developing chronic diseases and reduce the risks they may pose in individuals diagnosed with them.
 
"It's critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition," said M. Safwan Badr, M.D., president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
 
"Common sleep illnesses — including sleep apnea and insomnia — occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder your ability to sleep soundly. So if you're waking up exhausted, speak with a sleep physician to see if there's a problem. If you are diagnosed with a sleep illness, treating it could significantly improve disease symptoms and your quality of life."
 
The study, published in the journal SLEEP, involved more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older in 14 states. Nearly one third of participants were identified as short sleepers, meaning they reported sleeping six hours or less on average. More than 64 percent were classified as optimal sleepers, and only 4 percent of participants were long sleepers.
 
The results found short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress, compared with those who reported sleeping seven to nine hours on average in a 24-hour period. The same was true for long sleepers, and the associations with coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep.
 
Janet B. Croft, a chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Population Health, said mental stress, anxiety, and obesity can all contribute to sleep problems.
 
"Some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity," Croft said. "This suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases."

SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
 
She added: "Sleeping longer doesn't necessarily mean you're sleeping well. It is important to understand that both the quality and quantity of sleep impact your health. A healthy, balanced lifestyle is not limited to diet and fitness; when and how you sleep is just as important as what you eat or how you exercise."

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