ScienceDaily (Mar. 26, 2012) — Getting too little sleep — or even too much — appears to spell trouble for the heart. New data reveal that adults who get less than six hours of sleep a night are at significantly greater risk of stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Even those who reportedly sleep more than eight hours a night have a higher prevalence of heart problems, namely chest pain (angina) and coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, according to research presented March 25 at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session. The Scientific Session, the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, brings cardiovascular professionals together to further advances in the field.
While these findings echo those from previous, smaller studies, investigators say this is the first nationally representative sample to find an association between sleep duration and heart health, and the first to look at five different conditions at one time. Researchers retrospectively studied approximately 3,019 patients over the age of 45 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a survey of U.S. households that assessed a broad range of health issues. Analyses showed that people getting too little sleep were two times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack and 1.6 times more likely to have congestive heart failure. Those reporting more than eight hours of sleep a night were two times more likely to have angina and 1.1 times more likely to have coronary artery disease.