Sleep Is Important for Heart Health: European Society of Cardiology Congress, 2018

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The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018 from Munich, Germany was a meeting where many researchers presented their results on different studies concerning heart health – including the “holy grail” pill of weight loss, Belviq. However, something as simple as sleeping hours can affect heart health, showed the author of the study Moa Bengtsson at the Congress.

Sleeping Is Not a Waste of Time

It looks like men’s cardiovascular health is profoundly affected by sleeping hours. Sleeping less than five hours per night doubles the risk of developing heart disease, explained Bengtsson:

“For people with busy lives, sleeping may feel like a waste of time but our study suggests that short sleep could be linked with future cardiovascular disease.”

This study focused on 50-year-old men’s heart health. A group of 798 participants underwent a physical examination and had to complete a questionnaire, in which they wrote about their health conditions, sleep duration, smoking and physical activity.

Researchers divided the men into four groups according to the self-estimated average sleep duration: five or fewer hours, six hours, seven to eight hours and more than eight hours.

The study followed the participants for 21 years to discover if any major cardiovascular events occurred – such as heart attack, heart failure, and hospitalization, coronary revascularization or death after cardiovascular disease.

Men that slept five hours or less per night were more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, poor sleep quality, low physical activity and were prone to smoking, Bengtsson adding that:

“In our study, the magnitude of increased cardiovascular risk associated with insufficient sleep is similar to that of smoking or having diabetes at age 50.”

Compared to the men that slept seven to eight hours per night, the ones that skipped on sleeping had a double risk of a major cardiovascular event by the age of 71.

“This was an observational study so based on our findings we cannot conclude that short sleep causes cardiovascular disease, or say definitively that sleeping more will reduce risk. However, the findings do suggest that sleep is important – and that should be a wake-up call for all of us,” concluded Bengtsson.

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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