Sleeping well can lower stroke risk

stroke sleep

A good night’s sleep can help reduce the risk of a stroke, according to a new US study. 

Getting 7 to 8 hours sleep a night – along with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 6 times a week – is the perfect combination to help prevent a stroke, researchers at New York University School of Medicine suggest. 

They also claim sleeping for longer than 8 hours is just as bad as getting too little sleep, the researchers found.

Longer sleepers have highest risk

The team used computerised analysis to look at everything from health and lifestyle, to age and ethnicity. 

They surveyed 288,888 adults between 2004 and 2013 on the above criteria as well as how long they slept. The study also considered walking, swimming, cycling or gardening levels. 

It concluded that average sleepers – 7 to 8 hours a night – have a 25% lower risk of stroke. But those who sleep longer than 8 hours increase their stroke risk by 146%. 

People who manage less than 7 hours a night meanwhile, are 22% more likely to have a stroke.

Previous studies

An earlier study published by the American Stroke Association found that sleep also plays a big part in the risk of other heart diseases. 

It looked at the build-up of calcium in coronary arteries, which can be a predictor of stroke as well as a cause of heart disease. 

Adults who sleep 5 or fewer hours a day have 50% more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who sleep 7 hours a day, it found. 

Those who sleep 9 or more hours have over 70% more coronary calcium. 

Stroke figures

Strokes occur when part of the blood supply to the brain is cut off. 

In England, around 110,000 people suffer a stroke each year. It is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. 

Stroke-related brain injuries are also a major cause of adult disability in the UK.

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