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Too Much or Too Little Sleep May Increase Stroke Risk in Older Women

Getting more than 9 hours of sleep each night or less than 6 hours may increase the risk of stroke in post menopausal women according to new research from the US.

Researchers from a variety of US universities studied results of the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study which ran for 11 years from 1994 until 2005. The study included 93,175 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79.

In the study group, 8% of the women reported sleeping for an average of 5 hours or less per night, 27% reported 6 hours of sleep, 38% reported 7 hours, 23% reported 8 hours and 5% reported sleeping for 9 hours or more.

The researchers found that those women that slept for 9 hours or more per night were 70% more likely to suffer a stroke during the observation period than those who slept for 7 hours per night.

There was a smaller correlation with women who slept for less than 6 hours per night. Researcher found that they had a 14% higher risk of suffering a stroke than those who slept for 7 hours.

Results of the study were published online ahead of print on July 17 in the journal Stroke.

While the scientists are not sure of the underlying neurological mechanisms behind the results, this study shows the clear need for further understanding of how our sleep habits affect our health.

Source: Stroke
July 17, 2008 online ahead of print;
“Sleep Duration and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Postmenopausal Women”
Authors: Chen JC, Brunner RL, Ren H, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Larson JC, Levine DW, Allison M, Naughton MJ, Stefanick ML
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