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January 2011



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Seven hours sleep a night best for health

Fewer than seven hours a night linked to heart disease

2 Aug, 2010 09:00 am GMT

People who regularly sleep more or fewer than seven hours a night could be increasing their risk of heart disease, new research found.

A study of more than 30,000 adults found that cardiovascular disease – angina, heart attack and strokes – was twice as likely to occur in people who slept for less than seven hours a night compared with those who slept for seven hours.

In the study, participants were asked to fill in questionaires about their health and lifestyle, including questions about their sleep patterns.

People who slept for fewer than five hours a night had double the risk of developing heart disease compared to those who got a good seven hours.

The findings showed the risk was highest in women, and in those over the age of 60.

Sleeping for more than seven hours was also shown to be associated with an increased, but less dramatic risk, as people who slept for more than nine hours a day were one and a half times more likely to develop heart disease.

Although the researchers could not explain why too much or too little sleep could affect the health of your heart, they suggested that short sleep duration may be related to changes in the body’s metabolism and hormonal functions.

Sleep deprivation is associated with impaired glucose tolerance, reduced insulin sensitivity and elevated blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of hardening of the arteries, they said.

Long sleep duration may be related to an underlying sleep-related breathing disorder or poor sleep quality, researchers said.

“Sleep disturbances may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease even among apparently healthy subjects,” said study leader Dr Anoop Shankar from the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University.

“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 focussing on improving sleep quality and quantity,” Dr Shankar added.

The findings are published in the journal Sleep.


Tired on Mondays? Sleep More on Weekends

By John M Grohol PsyD

If you’re feeling especially tired today — and it’s Monday — it may be because you didn’t get your normal recharge of sleep this past weekend.

So says a new study published in the journal Sleep by David Dinges and his colleagues.

Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing the results of a sleep deprivation study on 159 healthy, middle-aged adults.

A group of 142 participants were sleep-deprived by allowing them only four hours of sleep for 5 consecutive nights. But before the sleep deprivation, these subjects were first given two nights of 10-hour sleep periods, to ensure all participants started at similar sleep levels.

They were then allowed randomized doses of recovery sleep ranging from zero hours to 10 hours for per night.

The other 17 participants in the study spent 10 hours in bed on all nights.

To measure the effects of these sleep manipulations, researchers administered 30-minute computer-based assessments that measured things like attention span and reaction time every 2 hours while the subjects were awake.

Those whose sleep had been restricted were found to have a shortened attention span, impaired alertness and reduced reaction time. But their cognitive functioning returned to normal range after just one full night of sleep.

The study also showed, not surprisingly, that people who had no sleep during the experiment performed significantly worse than normal.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/08/02/tired-on-mondays-sleep-more-on-weekends/


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