Too Much Sleep Increases Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

According to new findings, both insufficient sleep and excessive sleep increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and premature death.

The CDC reports that nearly a third of the population in the US does not get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.

However, new research suggests that too much sleep can also affect one’s health negatively. These new findings are published in the European Heart Journal.

Study researchers examined the sleeping habits of 116,000 people between the ages of 35 and 70 years. Socioeconomic factors, lifestyle habits, diet, physical activity levels, medications and family history of chronic conditions of the participants were also included in the analysis.

Over the 8-year follow up period of the study, 4381 people died, and 4365 people had a heart attack or stroke. Study analysis suggests that people who slept more than 6-8 hours a night on a regular basis were more likely to die prematurely. They were also more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

The risk of premature death or cardiovascular conditions was 5% higher for people who slept 8-9 hours compared to those who slept the recommended 6-8 hours. People who slept 9-10 hours were 17% more likely to die or develop heart and blood vessel conditions. People who slept more than 10 hours were 41% more likely to develop cardiovascular problems or die prematurely. Those who sleep 6 hours or less have a 9% higher risk of poor cardiovascular outcomes.

Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that the optimal duration of sleep is six to eight hours per day for adults. Overall, too little sleep can contribute to death and development of cardiovascular disease, and too much sleep may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“The general public should ensure that they get about six to eight hours of sleep a day. On the other hand, if you sleep too much regularly, say more than nine hours a day, and then you may want to visit a doctor to check your overall health.” says corresponding author Dr. Salem Yusuf, Professor of Medicine at McMaster University.

He highlights the fact that doctors need to include questions about the duration of sleep and naps when doing annual physical checkups to be able to identify those who might be at a higher risk of heart and blood vessel problems or death.