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Heart risk 'doubled'

25th September 2007

A study has suggested that too much sleep as well as too little sleep is linked to a doubled risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.

Sleeping

Experts from the University of Warwick and University College London examined sleep patterns and death rates over a 20-year period among 10,308 civil servants.

In findings presented to the British Sleep Society, they discovered a doubled risk among those who cut their sleeping from seven to five hours a night compared to those who stuck to seven hours a night. However, the risk was similar for those who increased their sleep to at least eight hours.

Researcher, Professor Francesco Cappuccio, said: “Fewer hours sleep and greater levels of sleep disturbance have become widespread in industrialised societies. This change, largely the result of sleep curtailment to create more time for leisure and shift-work, has meant that reports of fatigue, tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness are more common than a few decades ago.

“Sleep represents the daily process of physiological restitution and recovery, and lack of sleep has far-reaching effects.?

While researchers say lack of sleep had been linked to an increased risk of weight gain, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, the link between too much sleep and poor health was less clear.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said while public health messages focused on diet and exercise, people were given very little information about the need to get proper amounts of sleep and, more importantly, the right amount of sleep for them as individuals.

 

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