By Patti Neighmond
Are you not getting enough sleep, or are you getting too much? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you may be at risk of heart disease.
Just the right amount of good-quality sleep is key to good heart health, according to researchers at the Center for Cohort Studies at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease, even at a relatively young age.
The researchers studied more than 47,000 young and middle-aged men and women, average age around 41, who answered questions about how long and how well they slept.
Then they had tests to measure their cardiovascular health. Early coronary lesions were detected by measuring the amount of calcium in the arteries of the heart. Stiffness of arteries was measured by the speed of blood coursing through the arteries in the upper arm and ankle.
Calcium buildup and arterial stiffness are two important warning signs of oncoming heart disease.
Findings showed that adults who slept fewer than five hours a night had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours. Those who slept nine hours or more a night had even worse outcomes, with 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to those who slept seven hours.
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