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Getting Too Much Or Too Little Sleep Can Put You At Risk For Heart Disease

Getting Too Much Or Too Little Sleep Can Put You At Risk For Heart Disease

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 03:33 AM EDT
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Sleep disorders, including too little or too much sleep, may contribute to heart disease risk factors. Wokandapix / Pixabay CC0

It is important to make sure that you get the right amount of sleep to be able to function well. A new study found that sleep disorders such as having too little or too much sleep could be related to several risk factors that can increase the risk for heart diseases, according to a statement given by the new American Heart Association.

According to Medical News Today, the statement, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, gave an overview of what we know about sleep abnormality and cardiovascular-related risk factors which include including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, stroke, unhealthy levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. The statement also questioned if the improvement of sleep would lower down the risk factors, which can later result in the decreased risk of heart disease.

Experts said that there are about 50-70 million people in the United States who are experiencing sleep disorders. They have also found that 29.1 American adults usually get less than 7 hours of sleep. Medical Xpress also reported that American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society suggest that adults should have at least 7 hours of sleep per night, which is considered healthy.

"We know that short sleep, usually defined as under 7 hours per night, overly long sleep, usually defined as more than 9 hours per night and sleep disorders may increase some cardiovascular risk factors, but we don't know if improving sleep quality reduces those risk factors. Since the scientific evidence doesn't show a specific dose/response relationship between sleep duration and cardiovascular wellness, the American Heart Association cannot offer specific advice on how much sleep is needed to protect people from cardiovascular disease," said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., chair of the panel that reviewed the science.

St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, said that evidence connecting sleep problems to obesity and diabetes are the once that are often studied. "Those are the two main conditions in which there are intervention studies that show that risk factors are increased when sleep is altered." In obesity, for instance, studies show sleep influences food intake and could directly impact obesity risk, she said. But the research has been for short periods and longer studies, measuring the impact on actual weight, are needed.

She also said that further studies are needed to determine better awareness about whether or not having trouble sleeping can affect cholesterol, triglycerides, and signs of inflammation. Moreover, St-Onge said that there is still much work to be done to determine if a poor sleeping pattern does indeed play a major role in type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease and stroke since the research so far has not shown any direct link, reported Health Day.

Meanwhile, St-Onge suggested that medical providers ask their patients about the amount of sleep they get, and whether they snore. She also said that those overweight patients who snore should consult with a sleep specialist and those with general sleep problems should be advised on how to improve sleep and should also be followed up from time to time.

"Patients need to be aware that adequate sleep is important, just as being physically active and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and fish are important for cardiovascular health." she said.

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