Getting Enough Sleep Lowers Chance of Heart Attack


Written by Jon Mercer in Diseases
Viewed by 65 readers since 11-19-2008

We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is good for you, but new research shows that poor sleeping habits can actually have life or death consequences, increasing the risk of heart attack.

Sleeping just an extra hour every night can prevent heart attacks in some cases according to Swedish researchers. The new study, authored by Dr. Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute and Richard Ljung of the National Board of Health and Welfare, found that during the transition to daylight saving time, women were more likely to have heart attacks than men.

Lack of proper sleep has been linked to increased risk of heart problems by several studies, including one published in 2002 which suggested that men who work 60 hours or more weekly have an almost doubled risk of heart attack. The new Swedish study seems to confirm this, and highlights the degree to which getting sufficient sleep affects both blood pressure and heart rate.

Stress is also recognized as a major contributor to heart disease, and men and women who don’t get enough sleep may also suffer with stress related disorders, further increasing the risk of heart attack.

According to the study’s authors, working a standard 40 hour week is optimal, and those who work longer should pay special attention to their sleeping habits and make sure they are getting plenty of rest at night. The authors also recommend that workers putting in more than 40 hours a week have at least two free days every month to rest.

So far, is unclear how the transition to daylight saving time affects our health, but many doctors believe that blood pressure and pulse rate can be adversely affected because our internal body clocks become confused by the change.

This demonstrates just how fragile our natural body rhythm can be, and how even slight changes in our environment can severely affect the body clock, reducing vitality and leaving us more susceptible to cardiac problems.

Experts say that most people could drastically reduce the chance of having a heart attack by just getting an additional hour of sleep every night. Many working adults find themselves routinely sleeping five or six hours nightly, and researchers point out that the body of a middle-aged adult usually requires seven hours of rest, particularly for those who work long hours during the day.

The Swedish research is just another example of how the best “medicine” for our bodies often has nothing to do with pharmaceutical drugs or supplements. As simple as it sounds, reducing stress and getting a good nights sleep may turn out to be the best preemptive strategy to avoid illness.


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