Good sleepers ‘less likely to suffer a stroke’: learn the rules, sleep 7-8 hours a night, don’t toss and turn in bed is best
- French researchers monitor eye-closing habits of more than 7,000 people over 50
- Suboptimal sleep linked to 75% increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Study results show that 70% of these cardiovascular diseases are preventable
A study shows that getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can reduce the risk of stroke.
French researchers define the optimal type of eye closure as lasting seven to eight hours.
They also say that the best sleepers rarely toss and turn at night.
Scientists monitored the nighttime habits of more than 7,000 people over the age of 50 to discover links.
The study, which followed participants for nearly a decade, showed that those who slept the best were 75 percent less likely to suffer a stroke.
Experts now say that most strokes — and even heart disease cases — could be prevented if everyone slept well.
French researchers monitored the eye-closing habits of more than 7,000 people over the age of 50 and found that lack of sleep was linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke complications than those with the worst
How much sleep should I sleep?
Most adults need six to nine hours of sleep each night.
Going to bed and waking up at similar times each night programs the brain and internal body clock to fit into a fixed routine.
But few can stick to a strict bedtime pattern.
To make it easier to fall asleep, the NHS recommends relaxation, such as bathing, reading and avoiding electronic devices.
The health service also recommends keeping bedrooms sleep-friendly by removing TVs and gadgets from the room and keeping it dark and tidy.
For people who have trouble falling asleep, keeping a sleep diary can reveal habits or activities that lead to sleepiness, the NHS said.
Study author Dr Aboubakari Nambiema of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research said: “Given our 24/7 busy lives, the low prevalence of good sleepers is expected to be expected.
“The importance of sleep quality and quantity for heart health should be taught early in life when establishing healthy behaviors.
“Reducing nighttime noise and work stress both helped improve sleep.”
Dozens of studies link lack of sleep to heart disease and high blood pressure — which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
It’s not clear how sleep helps the heart.
However, lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing unhealthy habits that can damage the heart, such as poor diet and insufficient exercise.
Dr. Nambiema and colleagues examined the sleep habits of 7,200 participants in an earlier study.
The volunteers, aged 50 to 75 with healthy hearts, underwent physical examinations and were asked about their sleeping habits and medical history.
They shared how long they slept, whether they were early risers, and whether they suffered from insomnia, sleep apnea or tiredness during the day.
For each of these five factors, participants were awarded one point if their sleep was optimal, and zero if they were not.
Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, being a morning person and not having insomnia, daytime sleepiness or sleep apnea will earn 5 points.
A score of zero to one is considered poor.
The researchers monitored the patients and compared their scores with cases of heart disease and stroke.
The findings, due to be presented Saturday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, showed that 10 percent of the participants had the best sleep scores and 8 percent had poor sleep.
During the study, 274 people suffered from coronary heart disease or stroke.
The team found that people with a score of 5 were 75 percent less likely to develop heart complications than those with a score of 0 or 1.
For every 1-point increase in sleep score, the risk decreased by 22%.
The findings suggest that if everyone had an optimal sleep score, heart disease and stroke cases could be reduced by 72 percent, the researchers said.
Participants completed additional sleep questionnaires at both visits, and 25% reported their sleep had worsened, while 23% said their sleep had improved.
The team found that every 1-point increase in sleep score over time was associated with a 7 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.
“Our study shows that good sleep protects heart health and suggests that improved sleep is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke,” said Dr. Nambiema.
“We also found that the vast majority of people have trouble sleeping. Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, there needs to be more recognition of the importance of good sleep for maintaining a healthy heart.