A new study has found that the 30% of working adults who routinely sleep less than six hours a night are four times more likely to suffer from a stroke than individuals who get a proper nights sleep of seven to eight hours.
The study is the first to link insufficient sleep to stroke and the first to link that increased risk to adults who are not overweight and are otherwise healthy.
The finalized report will be presented today at the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.
According to lead author Megan Ruiter, of the University of Alabama in Birmingham:
“People know how important diet and exercise are in preventing strokes. The public is less aware of the impact of insufficient amounts of sleep. Sleep is important — the body is stressed when it doesn’t get the right amount.”
The study is important as the National Sleep Foundation recently found that people reporting eight or more hours of sleep per night has dropped from 38% in 2001 to 28% today.
A government study in May also found that 30% of working adults sleep less than six hours per night.
Previous studies have linked a lack of sleep to heart attacks and other cardiovascular risks.
This new study took three years to complete and involved 5,666 adults with normal height and weight proportions and who were at a low risk for sleep apnea.
Patients involved in the study had no history of stroke or stroke type symptoms and they self reported to researchers in six-month intervals.