Top risk of stroke for normal-weight adults: Getting under 6 hours of sleep

June 11, 2012, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Habitually sleeping less than six hours a night significantly increases the risk of stroke symptoms among middle-age to older adults who are of normal weight and at low risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a study of 5,666 people followed for up to three years.

The participants had no history of stroke, , stroke symptoms or high risk for OSA at the start of the study, being presented today at SLEEP 2012. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recorded the first stroke symptoms, along with demographic information, stroke risk factors, and various health behaviors.

After adjusting for body-mass index (BMI), they found a strong association with daily sleep periods of less than six hours and a greater incidence of stroke symptoms for middle-age to older adults, even beyond other risk factors. The study found no association between short sleep periods and stroke symptoms among overweight and obese participants.

"In employed middle-aged to , relatively free of major risk factors for stroke such as obesity and sleep-disordered breathing, short sleep duration may exact its own negative influence on stroke development," said lead author Megan Ruiter, PhD. "We speculate that duration is a precursor to other traditional stroke risk factors, and once these traditional are present, then perhaps they become stronger risk factors than sleep duration alone."

Further research may support the results, providing a strong argument for increasing physician and public awareness of the impact of sleep as a risk factor for , especially among persons who appear to have few or no traditional risk factors for stroke, she said.

"Sleep and sleep-related behaviors are highly modifiable with cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches and/or pharmaceutical interventions," Ruiter said. "These results may serve as a preliminary basis for using sleep treatments to prevent the development of stroke."

Ruiter and colleagues collected their data as part of the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, led by George Howard, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. REGARDS enrolled 30,239 people ages 45 and older between January 2003 and October 2007, and is continuing to follow them for health changes. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Explore further: Sleep apnea linked to silent strokes, small lesions in brain

More information: The abstract "Short sleep predicts stroke symptoms in persons of normal weight" is being presented today at SLEEP 2012, the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston.

Related Stories

Sleep apnea linked to silent strokes, small lesions in brain

February 1, 2012
People with severe sleep apnea may have an increased risk of silent strokes and small lesions in the brain, according to a small study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012.

CDC study forges link between depression and sleep apnea

March 30, 2012
Obstructive sleep apnea and other symptoms of OSA are associated with probable major depression, regardless of factors like weight, age, sex or race, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.