Short Sleepers Are At Risk For Heart Disease

Short sleepers or those who sleep six hours or less regularly are at risk developing heart disease or death, according to Dr. Michael Grandner, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Tuscon. As cited in the U.S. News Health site, the lack of sleep makes the heart vulnerable. Getting less sleep than the recommended could spell a heart disaster.

The report added that around 20-30% fall into the short sleeper category, which is sleeping less than six hours, is also in danger of a metabolic problem, which is impaired glucose control or diabetes type 2 and obesity.

Various reports confirmed that short sleepers had a 12% increased risk of death compared to those who sleeps seven to eight hour a night. This report was published in 2010 by the United Kingdom and Italy. It added that the common cause of death among short sleepers was coronary artery calcification.

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health and the Women’s Heart Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, reiterated that the lack of sleep, doesn’t mean a person will have a heart attack or stroke, but the lack of sleep can contribute to this risk.

Conversely, short sleepers were found out to be at high risk for prediabetes. According to a study published in the Annals of Epidemiology in 2010, researchers from Warwick Medical School and State University of New York–Buffalo documented that people who slept an average of less than six hours each night during the entire workweek were 4.56 times more like to have impaired fasting glucose (IFG). It stated the type 2 diabetes is likely to develop fully after ten years, said the National Institute Of Health (NIHI). Diabetes is the leading factor for stroke, heart disease and high blood-glucose build-up. (See link below for the full story).

Also, the combination of short sleep, eating unhealthy high-calorie foods, during night time can also lead to high cholesterol build up.

Other risks stated in the report, includes insomnia and sleep apnea. Insomnia is another known factor for heart disease, because it promotes high blood pressure, increase stress, hormones, and faster heart rate, and sleep apnea, which causes the reduction of oxygen flow in the blood, which brings the blood pressure up.

Getting the recommended amount of sleep does much for the body. Blood pressure is lowered, energy restored, hormones released, breathing slows,  muscles relax, there is an increase in blood supply, and it promotes growth and tissue repair, the report concluded.


Costa, S. Your Heart Needs Sleep, Feb. 10, 2016.


Amabelle Equio,  Ph.D candidate in Nursing at Silliman University, Health, Fitness, Medical Writer, Photography Enthusiast.

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