New research shows people who sleep less than six hours a night may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds an association between poor sleep quality and having more plaque buildup in the arteries throughout the body
“Having plaque in the arteries say to the heart is what predisposes to heart attacks, and having plaque in the brain is what causes most forms of stroke,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt is a Cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Previous studies shows lack of sleep can also increase other heart disease risk factors like blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.
But too much sleep could also be bad for the heart. The latest study suggests sleeping more than eight hours a night may increase plaque in the arteries, especially for women.
Dr. Bhatt explained, “Probably the sweet spot for sleep duration is around seven to eight hours, but I should say that is seven to eight hours of really good sleep . because again the quality of sleep matter it’s not just the quantity.”
The study also finds that people with short, disrupted sleep are more likely to drink alcohol and caffeine.