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Short and long sleep durations are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease
Date:7/31/2010

hours (OR = 1.23). The association between a daily sleep duration of five hours or less and cardiovascular disease was strongest in adults under 60 years of age (OR = 3.08) and in women (OR = 2.57). When subjects with diabetes, hypertension or depression were excluded from the analysis, the association with cardiovascular disease remained high for sleep durations of five hours or less (OR = 2.26) and nine hours or more (OR = 2.04).

Although individual sleep needs vary, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that most adults should get about seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well rested during the day.

According to the authors, the mechanisms underlying the association between short sleep and cardiovascular disease may include sleep-related disturbances in endocrine and metabolic functions. The negative effects of sleep deprivation include impaired glucose tolerance, reduced insulin sensitivity, increased sympathetic activity and elevated blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of hardening of the arteries. Long sleep duration may be related to an underlying sleep-related breathing disorder or poor sleep quality.

The authors cautioned that the cross-sectional nature of the study did not allow for a determination of causality. However, the results suggest that inquiring about habitual sleep duration could be an important aspect of preventative medicine.

"Our study findings may have important clinical and public health implications, such as screening for changes in sleep duration by primary care physicians as a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease, or initiating public health initiatives focusing on improving sleep quality and quantity," said Shankar.


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Contact: Kathleen McCann
kmccann@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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