Sleep longer for healthier arteries

From 6minutes.com.au, 5 January 2009:
A single extra hour of sleep can reduce the five-year risk of coronary artery calcification by 33%, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The five-year study of nearly 500 healthy, middle-aged Americans found the coronary benefits of sleep remained even after adjusting for potential confounders such as age, smoking status, apnoea risk and other cardiac risk factors such as lipid levels and blood pressure.
The effect of sleep, or lack of, was so significant, the authors suggested sleep could rank alongside other more established coronary risk factors.
“The modelled effect of one additional hour of sleep on the odds of incident calcification was equal to the modelled effect of a 16.5mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure,” researchers wrote.
Earlier research had already implicated sleep quality and quantity as a correlate of risk factors ranging from glucose and appetite regulation to inflammation and obesity.
However many of these studies relied on subjects’ self-reporting of sleep habits.
In this study, researchers chose a more objective measure of sleep duration and quality by using wrist activity monitors.
Researchers suggested a number of potential explanations for the association, including as-yet-unknown common factors affecting both sleep and calcification, mediators such as inflammation or cortisol, or diurnal variations in calcification. Read more.

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