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The Importance of Sleep to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke: By the Numbers

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Nine out of ten people do not get a good night’s sleep, according to a French study presented at the 2022 Congress of theEuropean Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Suboptimal sleep is associated with a higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke, the study shows.

Nearly 7200 people between the ages of 50 and 75 (mean age 59.7) and free of cardiovascular disease were recruited from a medical center.

At baseline and at two visits over a 10-year follow-up period, information on five sleep patterns was collected. Each habit received 1 point if it was optimal and 0 if it was not.

People with an optimal score of 5 said:

  • sleep 7 to 8 hours a night;
  • never or rarely suffer from insomnia;
  • not having frequent excessive daytime sleepiness;
  • not suffer from sleep apnea;
  • having an early chronotype (being in the morning).

At baseline, 10% of participants had an optimal sleep score and 8% had a poor score. During follow-up, 274 participants developed coronary heart disease or stroke.

The analyses, which took into account various other factors associated with cardiovascular health, show that the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke decreased by 22% for each point increase in sleep score. Specifically, compared to people with a score of 0 or 1, participants with a score of 5 had a 75% lower risk of heart disease or stroke.

If all participants had an optimal sleep score, 7 in 10 new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke (72%) could be prevented each year, the researchers estimated.

During the two follow-ups, almost half of the participants (48%) changed their sleep score: in 25% of them it decreased while in 23% it improved.

A one-point increase was associated with a 7% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.

Our study illustrates the potential of good sleep to preserve heart health and suggests that improved sleep is linked to lower risks of coronary heart disease and strokeconcludes the researcher. “We have also found that the vast majority of people have difficulty sleeping. Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, there is a need to raise awareness about the importance of good sleep in maintaining a healthy heart.»

For more information on sleep, see the links below.

Psychomedia with sources: European Society of Cardiology.
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