Six to eight hours of sleep best for the heart, says study

Six to eight hours of sleep a night is most beneficial for the heart, while more or less than that could increase the risk of coronary artery disease or a stroke, researchers have suggested. The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, indicates sleep deprivation and excessive hours in bed should be avoided for optimum heart health. The study’s author, Dr Epameinondas Fountas of the Onassis cardiac surgery centre in Athens, said: “Our findings suggest that too much or too little sleep may be bad for the heart. “More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we do know that sleep influences biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammations – all of which have an impact on cardiovascular disease.” Data from more than a million adults from 11 studies was analysed as part of the research. Compared with adults who got six to eight hours of sleep a night, “short sleepers” had an 11% greater risk, while “long sleepers” had 33% increased risk over the next nine years. Fountas added: “Having the odd short night or lie-in is unlikely to be detrimental to health, but evidence is accumulating that prolonged nightly sleep deprivation or excessive sleeping should be avoided.” Emily McGrath, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “When it comes to our heart and circulatory health, this large study suggests that there may be a sweet spot between getting too much and getting too little sleep. “This research needn’t trigger alarm bells for those of us partial to a sleepless night or a weekend lie-in. However, if you regularly struggle with your sleep, it’s an important reminder to speak to your GP. “As well as having a negative impact on your quality of life, a lack of sleep could also be contributing to heart problems further down the line.”

The Guardian, 26 August 2018 ;