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Lack of sleep 'raises your risk of stroke or heart disease'

kira86 于2011-02-13发布 l 已有人浏览
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It is the stuff of nightmares for those whose hectic work schedule or busy family life means getting

lack of sleep.jpg

It is the stuff of nightmares for those whose hectic work schedule or busy family life means getting up early and staying up late.

Sleeping for less than six hours a night greatly increases the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, a study has found.

Scientists claim that the modern tendency to delay going to bed in order to get through more of the items on the ‘to do’ list has serious health consequences.

But beware. Having the time and the tendency to retreat under the duvet for hours longer is not necessarily a health guarantee. Those who have too much sleep are also more likely to suffer a heart attack.

While the extra slumber is unlikely to be the cause, long-term illnesses such as heart disease often make sufferers feel tired, so sleeping for longer than nine hours a night may be an early warning sign.

Researchers found that those who slept for less than six hours were almost 50 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack and 15 per cent more at risk of strokes.

They believe that not having enough sleep disrupts the balance of two key hormones, ghrelin and leptin, which control the appetite.

Poor sleepers tend to eat more and are more likely to be obese, so are at greater risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, which lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Experts recommend adults get at least six or seven hours’ shut-eye a night to stay healthy.

But as many as 60 per cent of us do not think we are sleeping enough, with a third suffering from insomnia. The researchers, from the University of Warwick, warned that trying to cram too much into one day by going to bed late and getting up early could lead to serious illnesses later in life.

They looked at the sleeping habits of almost 475,000 participants from 15 previous studies across eight countries, including the UK, the U.S., Japan, Sweden and Germany.

Their findings, published in the European Heart Journal, show that those who slept for less than six hours were 48 per cent more likely to develop or die from heart disease and 15 per cent more likely to develop or die from a stroke.

Not having enough sleep decreases the levels of leptin in our blood, which means we do not feel as satisfied after eating.

At the same time, it raises the levels of ghrelin, responsible for triggering our appetite, thus making us feel hungrier.

The scientists believe that our ‘work hard, play hard’ society encourages us to sacrifice sleep and compromises our health.

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, from the University of Warwick Medical School, said: ‘If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48 per cent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 per cent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke.

‘The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.

'There is an expectation in today’s society to fit more into our lives. The whole work-life balance struggle is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us.

‘But in doing so, we are significantly increasing the risk of suffering a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease resulting in, for example, heart attacks.’

Co-researcher Dr Michelle Miller said: ‘Chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body which increase the risk of developing heart disease and strokes, and other conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.’

But the scientists also warned that sleeping more than nine hours every night may be an early warning sign of heart disease.

 

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