Less Than 6 Hours Sleep Significantly Increases Risk of a Stroke Even If You Are Fit and Healthy

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If you need an excuse for a long lie-in, this could be it.

Those of us who regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep a night are at significantly increased risk of stroke, a study suggests.

Researchers found that those in middle age who skimped on sleep were more likely to suffer stroke symptoms than those who got at least nine hours of shut-eye – even if they were a healthy weight and with no family history of stroke.

More than 5,000 participants, who were between 45 and retirement age, were monitored for three years as part of the US study.

Those who slept for fewer than six hours were most likely to experience symptoms such as numbness or weakness down one side of their body, dizziness, loss of vision or a sudden inability to express themselves verbally or in writing.

Scientists at the University of Alabama said the impact of sleep deprivation was a major one, even after taking into account age, weight and other known risks such as high blood pressure.

The participants were divided into five groups according to how many hours a night they slept. They were asked to report their symptoms every six months.

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