The Goldilocks principle applies to sleep: Getting just the right amount of shut-eye can keep your heart healthy. But getting too much – or too little – sleep can spell trouble for your ticker.
That’s the key finding of a new study by Chicago Medical School researchers who said doctors and patients should talk more about the importance of sleep.
The study, presented at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, found adults who get less than six hours of sleep a night are 1.6 percent more likely to have a stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure than those who get the recommended six to eight hours of slumber.
Researchers also found sleeping more than eight hours a night raises the risk of heart problems and coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
The study was based on an assessment 3,019 patients over the age of 45 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey of U.S. households that assessed a broad range of health issues
"We now have an indication that sleep can impact heart health, and it should be a priority," said Dr. Rohit R. Arora, the study's principal investigator. "Based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep everyday probably confers the least risk for cardiovascular disease over the long term."