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Getting More Sleep Key to Healthy Hearts

According to a study published in the November issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, getting less than seven and a half hours of sleep a night can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

The study followed 1,255 individuals with hypertension for over four years. Participants had a median age of 70. For the duration of the study, researchers constantly monitored participant's amount of sleep and blood pressure.

After analyzing the data they had compiled, researchers found that participants who slept less than 7.5 hours a day were 33% more likely to suffer a cardiac event than those who did. The events included stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death.

The researchers identified that participants who slept less than 7.5 hours had a 2.4% incidence for cardiovascular events, while those who slept for longer periods had only a 1.8% incident rate.

The researchers note that this is yet another long term side effect of not getting enough sleep. Based on the study results, they recommended that primary care physicians begin asking patients with hypertension about their sleeping habits.

Beyond the obvious daytime tiredness, irritability, and loss of focus, lack of sleep can also lead to more serious health issues. Hormonal issues, poor metabolism and high blood pressure have all been linked to poor sleep habits.

ÂThere are many ways to improve your sleep and increase the amount of sleep you get each night. Some helpful tricks include avoiding sugary snacks and caffeine before bed, exercising during the day and trying to get to bed around the same time every night.
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