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Study Finds Healthy Sleep May Help Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. Researchers from Tulane University have found that healthy sleep patterns may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, even in people with a high genetic risk.

The researchers used data from 385,292 participants in the UK Biobank project. None of them had cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. They analyzed their sleeping patterns and gave them a score from 0 to 5, with a higher score designating a healthy sleep pattern. The sleep patterns they analyzed were chronotype, insomnia, duration, snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness. They also calculated separate genetic risk scores for heart attack and stroke. The participants were followed for an average of 8.5 years.

Participants with healthy sleeping patterns had a 35% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with unhealthy sleeping patterns. They also had a 34% reduced risk of stroke. Participants with high genetic risk scores and healthy sleep patterns had a 2.1-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 1.5-fold increased risk of stroke, compared to those with a low genetic risk. In comparison, those with a high genetic risk score and unhealthy sleep patterns had a 2.5-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 1.3-fold increased risk of stroke, compared to those with a low genetic risk.

The study was conducted by researchers from Tulane University. It was published on December 18, 2019 in the European Heart Journal.

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