For many years the ill effects of sleep deprivation has been well known. Those who sleep less than seven hours risk many health issues. As seen in the picture below, it can impact many vital functions. A new study adds to the body of evidence that getting less than seven hours of sleep will increase the risk of heart disease. The study appeared in the August 1 edition of ‘SLEEP’ was conducted by Dr. Anoop Shankar of the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University and Dr. Charumathi Sabanayagam.

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They analyzed data from a 2005 National Health Interview Survey. Some 30,397 adults from a wide range of backgrounds and lifestyles. 2,146 reported one form or another of cardiovascular disease. Everything from strokes and heart attacks to angina.

Those sleeping only five hours a day, including naps, showed to have double the risk of heart disease than those who got seven hours of sleep. In addition, those who slept more than nine hours a day, including naps, also had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Results were adjusted for various factors, such as age, sex, race, smoking, alcohol, diabetes and hypertension. People getting between six to eight hours of sleep per day, including naps, still had a risk of heart disease, but less so.

The greatest evidence of a link between sleep periods and cardiovascular disease was with men over 60 and adult women in general. Those getting five hours or less of sleep were also shown to be at higher risk of other diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and depression. But excluding those from the survey whom already had such diseases, the risk to heart disease was significantly higher for those people getting five hours or less and nine hours or more of sleep.

Doctors Anoop Shankar and Charumathi Sabanayagam see a direct link between sleep and cardiovascular disease. Those who sleep seven hours risk less. People getting less than seven hours of sleep risk heart disease as well as those getting nine hours or more. Six to eight hours of sleep per day, including naps, is ideal for most adults according to the new study.