Today in ‘can kill you’: not getting enough sleep

You might want to put down your death-inducing diet soda and take a look at this- it seems researchers have found that insufficient sleep can lead to an early demise as well.

Researchers in the UK reviewed data from 470,000 people in eight countries, including the US. What they found is that people who regularly sleep less than six hours a night are at a sharply increased risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. Authors of the study acknowledged the difficulties people have in achieving work/life balance, but cautioned against trading sleep for productivity.

Dr. Francesco Cappuccio, of the Warwick Medical School in England, co-authored the study. He said:

“If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48 percent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 percent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke… The trend for late nights and early mornings is actually a ticking time bomb for our health so you need to act now to reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.”

The study was published earlier this month in European Heart Journal. In a news release about the findings, study co-author Dr. Michelle Miller theorized that “chronic short sleep produces hormones and chemicals in the body which increase the risk of developing heart disease and strokes, and other conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.”

Seven hours of sleep is recommended as a minimum in order to prevent increased risk of the conditions linked with insufficient sleep.