These Bedroom Habits Are Just Plain Bad For You

Sleeping too much, or too little, boosts heart attack risk, according to a new study of nearly a half-million people, which found that those who slept fewer than six hours were 20% more likely to have a heart attack, and those who slept more than nine hours were 34% more likely. Image: Richard foster, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sep 2, 2019

University of Colorado Boulder – Even if you exercise, don’t smoke, and have no family history of heart disease,  poor sleep habits can boost your risk of heart attack, according to a new CU Boulder study of nearly a half-million people.

The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also found that for those at high genetic risk for heart attack, sleeping between 6 and 9 hours nightly can offset that risk.

“This provides some of the strongest proof yet that sleep duration is a key factor when it comes to heart health, and this holds true for everyone,” said senior author Celine Vetter, an assistant professor of Integrative Physiology.

For the study, Vetter and co-authors at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Manchester analyzed the genetic information, self-reported sleep habits and medical records of 461,000 UK Biobank participants age 40 to 69 who had never had a heart attack, then followed them for seven years.

Compared to those who slept 6 to 9 hours per night, those who slept fewer than six hours were 20% more likely to have a heart attack during the study period. Those who slept more than nine hours were 34% more likely [demonstrating that enough is enough! – Ed]. Best Thing After A Heart Attack? Sex

“It’s kind of a hopeful message, that regardless of what your inherited risk for heart attack is, sleeping a healthy amount may cut that risk just like eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and other lifestyle approaches can,” said lead author Iyas Daghlas, a medical student at Harvard.

Previous research has long suggested an association between sleep and heart health, but because those studies were observational—looking at different groups to see who develops disease—it’s been difficult to determine whether poor sleep causes heart problems or vice-versa.

Many factors can influence both heart health and sleep, making it even more difficult to determine cause and effect. Read more.

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