JUN 05, 2018 5:27 AM PDT

Your Heart and Your Sleeping Habits

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Getting enough sleep is good for you. Old news, right? A new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine expands on this generic health advice, finding that excess heart age is the lowest in adults who sleep seven hours a night: no more, no less.

How many hours of sleep do you usually get?

Sleep is important for a variety of reasons. It promotes learning and memory function in the brain. Sleep also boosts attention span, decision making, and creating thinking. Additionally, sleep is vital for repairing heart and blood vessels. From past studies, scientists know that sleep deficiency is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

According to the American Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million adults in the United States have a sleeping disorder, like insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. Almost half of American report snoring, and insomnia is recorded as the most common specific sleep disorder.

In their new study, scientists analyzed data from 12,775 adults between the ages of 30 and 74 who completed a survey on health and nutrition. Each respondent self-reported sleep habits, which were separated into five categories: five hours or less, six hours, seven hours, eight hours, and nine hours or more per night.

Researchers determined each respondent’s heart age using the Framingham heart age algorithm. This tool, also called the Framingham heart age calculator, factors in sex, systolic blood pressure, hypertension status, smoking habits, diabetes status, and BMI (body mass index) to produce the individual’s “heart/vascular age,” personal risk of disease, the normal risk, and the optimal risk. The test is intended for use by people between ages 30 and 74 with no history of heart disease.

Researchers identified associations between this measurement and sleeping patterns in the 12,775 respondents. They found that sleeping times less than or greater than seven hours were associated with increased excess heart age. However, excess heart age was found to be the greatest for people sleeping less than seven hours.

"These results are important because they demonstrate a quantitative method for the inclusion of sleep duration in the establishment and communication of cardiovascular risk for individuals,” explained primary researcher Julia Durmer. “This could have utility in the clinical care of patients with cardiovascular risk, and for public health researchers interested in adding a sleep metric to future studies.”

The research abstract was recently published online in the journal Sleep.

Sources: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

About the Author
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
APR 19, 2022
Cardiology
Daily Coffee May Improve Longevity and Heart Health
APR 19, 2022
Daily Coffee May Improve Longevity and Heart Health
Good news for coffee fans!
MAY 25, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Deadly Heart Arrhythmia Linked to Air Pollution May be Avoidable
MAY 25, 2022
Deadly Heart Arrhythmia Linked to Air Pollution May be Avoidable
Doctors at the Maggiore Hospital in Bologna, Italy noticed that on days with high levels of air pollution, clusters of p ...
MAY 26, 2022
Cardiology
Reducing Salt Intake Improves Heart Failure Symptoms
MAY 26, 2022
Reducing Salt Intake Improves Heart Failure Symptoms
Reducing sodium intake improves symptoms, but not hospitalizations or deaths, for heart failure patients.
JUN 12, 2022
Neuroscience
Multiple Heart-Related Conditions Triples Dementia Risk
JUN 12, 2022
Multiple Heart-Related Conditions Triples Dementia Risk
People who have multiple cardiometabolic conditions have a three times higher dementia risk than those with a high genet ...
AUG 27, 2022
Health & Medicine
It's Not the Amount of Exercise That Counts; It's How Often You Do It
AUG 27, 2022
It's Not the Amount of Exercise That Counts; It's How Often You Do It
Is it better to exercise more frequently or for longer but less often? That is the question. But, of course, it all depe ...
SEP 17, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Dental Care Linked to Better Heart Attack Outcomes
SEP 17, 2022
Dental Care Linked to Better Heart Attack Outcomes
People who receive periodontal care have shorter hospital stays following a heart attack. The corresponding study was pu ...
Loading Comments...