If You Sleep This Much, You’re Putting Your Heart at Risk, New Study Says

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Research shows there may be a magic number when it comes to how many hours you need.

When it comes to health knowledge, the importance of getting enough sleep has become as common as making sure to eat right and exercise. Ensuring plenty of shut eye has been proven to help your body and brain get the rest and repair they need to be at their best. But according to a new study, it’s not just sleeping too little that can be an issue. As far as your heart health goes, getting a specific number of hours of sleep can be the best way to make sure you’re not doing damage. Anything more or less puts your heart in harm’s way. Read on to see what researchers say is the slumber sweet spot.

A new study found that six to seven hours of sleep is necessary to keep your heart healthy.

According to researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, there is an ideal amount of sleep that people should be getting to keep their heart health in check. Their new study, which will soon be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session, examined data from 14,079 respondents in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey taken between 2005 and 2010, which included questions on how long each person usually slept at night.

Participants were then tracked for an average of 7.5 years to see if they died of heart disease, heart failure, or stroke, with less than 10 percent previously reporting a history of the medical ailments. What they found was that “participants who slept less than six hours or more than seven hours had a higher chance of death due to cardiac causes,” Kartik Gupta, MD, the study’s lead author and a resident in the hospital’s Division of Internal Medicine, said in a statement.

Researchers determined that sleeping no more than seven hours and no less than six is best for your heart.

Researchers also tracked participants’ levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and health risk scores—also known as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores—that are used to determine someone’s likelihood of having a heart attack. Results showed a U-shaped curve, with the lowest risk falling on those who slept between six and seven hours a night.

“Participants who sleep less or more than six to seven hours have higher ASCVD risk scores, which is likely driven by heightened inflammation as measured by CRP, which was found to be higher among those who had less or more sleep,” Gupta said in a statement. “Patients who sleep for six to seven hours have the least CRP, so this inflammation might be driving increased cardiovascular risk.”

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