Lack of sleep may threaten cardiovascular health

Lisa Wurth

February 15, 2011

British researchers who collected data from more than 470,000 patients recently discovered that those who sleep less than six hours a night may be more prone to heart problems, according to Healthday News.

The biggest two health conditions that may be exacerbated by fitful slumber are heart attacks and strokes.

"If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48 percent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 percent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke," research co-author Dr. Francesco Cappuccio said.

Those who have trouble sleeping are often suffering from stress. Adult children caring for older parents may be especially prone to sleepless nights, because they may worry that a senior will wander out of the house or experience a medical problem at night.

Installing a personal emergency response system in a home may alleviate some of these concerns, because this device allows users to instantly send a medical alert to doctors if an older adult requires assistance.

Experts suggest that sleeping problems can also be reduced by lowering the amount of caffeine once consumes and trying to start a routine each night before bed.