Insufficient sleep is bad for your health

Those who sleep too little or too much can endanger their health.

(02.08.2010) Those who sleep too little endanger their health. A new US study recently established a link between sleep duration and heart attack risk. Sleeping too much could also have negative health consequences.

Sleep is necessary for the human organism to survive. Without sleep, the body could not regenerate and recover. It has been scientifically proven for a long time that people who sleep too little have an increased risk of diabetes. Obesity, impaired performance and the depressive syndrome can also be serious consequences of a permanent lack of sleep. Researchers at the American University of West Virginia have now researched another health risk factor: too little, but also too much sleep damages the cardiovascular system and promotes diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

It turned out that people who sleep an average of seven hours a day have the lowest risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. The risk of those who only sleep five hours a day was more than twice as high. But late risers who sleep more than nine hours a day also have an increased risk of heart attacks. In comparison, the risk rate here was half times higher than that of the test subjects who slept seven hours a day.

The researchers also looked into the question of why the risk of illness increases when there is a lack of sleep or too long sleep. The assumption is that the length of sleep has an influence on the body's metabolism. For example, if a person sleeps too little, high blood pressure can occur. High blood pressure, in turn, promotes cardiovascular diseases, as the arteries are narrowed in this disease and the blood circulation no longer functions optimally. (sb)

Lack of sleep can be compensated for

However, those who sleep too little can make up for the lack of sleep. Often people who work shifts are acutely affected by lack of sleep. But a scientific study by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has shown that lack of sleep can also be compensated for. Anyone who permanently suffers from a lack of sleep due to work can compensate for the lack of sleep with several longer sleep units. In the course of a study, the sleep behavior of 159 study participants was examined. Drastic measures were also used and the test subjects were roused from their sleep. Test subjects who showed an enormous sleep deficit over time were able to compensate for the deficit with a longer recovery sleep. It remains unclear, however, whether the uneven sleep rhythm might damage the body for a long time.

A balanced and restful sleep prevents illnesses. Those who sleep enough are less stressed and more productive. For this reason, appropriate rest phases should be observed. (sb)

Continue reading:
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Stress at work affects the heart
Does chocolate protect against a heart attack?

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