I know we have discussed sleep in the past so I will try to keep you awake! Yet another study on the benefits of sleep was published in the European Heart Journal recently that made me start worrying all over again! Remember, I am a short sleeper, 4-5 hours a night is all I need (I thought) to feel rested and healthy! So, are there risks with “inadequate sleep”? Apparently yes! This study examined the association between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Bottom line, short sleepers have an increased risk of CVD while long sleepers do not. So, all of you weekend sleepers, you know who you are, still in bed at noon, not up until college football starts, good for you! Not only is there evidence of increased risk of CVD with short sleepers, but there is also a causal association with hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and ischemic heart disease as well as pulmonary embolism. Be still my heart!
So, it isn’t really feasible to try to change your sleep patterns as you will likely not be successful, especially when daylight savings time kicks in. That said, maybe you can improve the quality of your sleep so that some of the ill effects of short sleeping may be lessened. Think about things like insomnia, how much caffeine are you drinking? Are you consuming alcohol prior to going to bed? These can both interfere with the quality of your sleep. Then there are those who have sleep apnea but can’t be bothered with using the CPAP machine because it is a nuisance. Hmmm, maybe it will improve the quality of your sleep? Please get enough rest based on your individual needs, stay well, stay informed and stay tuned!