Your Stroke Risk Is 85 Percent Higher If You Sleep Like This, Study Says
Whether you have to sleep with the fan on or need three pillows to doze off, we all have our preferences when it comes to our nightly routines. But aside from a cranky morning or a stiff neck, many of us don't think about the way these sleeping habits can have a serious impact on our overall health. Recent research has found that the way you sleep could significantly increasing your chances of having a stroke. Read on to find out if your sleep routine is raising your stroke risk by 85 percent.
A 2019 study published in the Neurology journal looked at the effects of sleep on stroke risk. The researchers for the study analyzed more than 31,000 retired employees for six years, having them complete questionnaires about their sleeping and napping patterns. Over the course of the study, more than 1,500 of the participants ended up having a stroke.
According to the study, two factors helped raise people's stroke risk: long napping and long sleeping. People who both slept more than nine hours and reported more than 90 minutes worth of midday napping were 85 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who both moderately napped and slept.
You don't have to be both a long napper and a long sleeper for your risk to be higher, however. Each of these habits raises your risk separately as well. People who took a midday nap longer than 90 minutes were 25 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who moderately napped for 30 minutes, at most. And in terms of sleeping long at night, people who slept nine or more hours a night were 23 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who slept at most eight hours per night.
Excessive sleeping and napping suggests an overall inactive lifestyle.
The study did not conclude why exactly this connection between sleeping patterns and stroke exists. But study co-author Xiaomin Zhang, MD, a professor at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said in a statement that long napping and sleeping suggests an "overall inactive lifestyle," which could contribute to the increased stroke risk.
"More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke," Zhang said.
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But it's not just how long you sleep. According to the study, poor sleep quality also plays a part in increased stroke risk. The researchers found that the participants who reported poor sleep quality showed a 29 percent higher risk of total stroke compared with those who reported good sleep quality. When looking at both those who were long sleepers and reported poor sleep quality, the risk of having a stroke was 82 percent higher than moderate sleepers with good sleep quality.
"These results highlight the importance of moderate napping and sleeping duration and maintaining good sleep quality, especially in middle-age and older adults," Zhang said.