Short sleep duration 'could heighten risk of stroke'

11 June 2012

People who sleep for less than six hours a night are at an increased risk of suffering from a stroke when compared to people who enjoy healthy periods of sleep.

A study at the University of Alabama involved a group of participants with no history of stroke, transient ischemic attack, stroke symptoms or high risk of obstructive sleep apnoea at the start of the research having their health analysed.

Following an adjustment of the study to take into account body-mass index, the researchers found that there was a greater incidence of stroke symptoms for middle aged and older adults who slept on average for less than six hours at a time.

Megan Ruiter, lead author of the research, commented on the significance of the study, by highlighting: "We speculate that short sleep duration is a precursor to other traditional stroke risk factors, and once these traditional stroke risk factors are present, then perhaps they become stronger risk factors than sleep duration alone."

Last month, scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre suggested that women who are diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat are more likely to suffer a stroke than men.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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