A new study has investigated the effect of sleep on our cardiovascular health when combined with traditional advice on diet, drinking, exercise and smoking. Results showed that while following advice regarding diet, drinking, exercise and smoking reduced deaths from stroke and heart disease – more lives were saved by also getting enough sleep.
The research team in the Netherlands tracked strokes and heart disease in over 14,000 men and women for more than a decade. By the time the study came to an end, 600 individuals had suffered stroke or heart disease and 129 died.
It was revealed that death was less likely in those following all four positive lifestyle recommendations – eating well, exercising regularly, not smoking and drinking in moderation.
Observing all four of these behaviours was linked to a 57% lower risk of heart disease, and 67% lower risk of death following stroke or heart disease.
However, when getting enough sleep (seven or more hours) was added to the four lifestyle factors – this beneficial effect was increased, resulting in a 65% lower risk of heart disease and an 83% lower risk of death following stroke or heart disease.
Researchers say that previous studies have linked poor sleep to cardiovascular health, but this study is the first to look at whether or not sleep could further reduce risk when added to other healthy lifestyle recommendations.
Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation has stressed that those suffering from sleepless nights should not be alarmed,
“This research shows that combining a good night’s sleep with other healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of heart disease, but troubled sleepers should not be alarmed – this study doesn’t mean sleepless nights cause heart disease.”
If you have trouble sleeping, speaking to a hypnotherapist could help. For more information, please see our page on Insomnia.
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