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The benefits of getting eight hours of sleep are well known. However, it turns out that anything more or less than that can be harmful. According to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, both sleep deprivation and oversleeping should be avoided for the well being of the heart.
“Our findings suggest that too much or too little sleep may be bad for the heart. More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we do know that sleep influences biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammations – all of which have an impact on cardiovascular disease,” Dr Epameinondas Fountas, the study’s author told The Guardian.
In order to arrive at the result, data from 11 studies consisting of more than a million adults were taken into account.
“Having the odd short night or lie-in is unlikely to be detrimental to health, but evidence is accumulating that prolonged nightly sleep deprivation or excessive sleeping should be avoided,” Fountas said.
“When it comes to our heart and circulatory health, this large study suggests that there may be a sweet spot between getting too much and getting too little sleep. This research needn’t trigger alarm bells for those of us partial to a sleepless night or a weekend lie-in. However, if you regularly struggle with your sleep, it’s an important reminder to speak to your GP.As well as having a negative impact on your quality of life, a lack of sleep could also be contributing to heart problems further down the line,” senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation Emily McGrath said.