Sufficient sleep reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, a study published in July 2013 reports. The National Health Interview Survey found that nearly 30 percent of adults reported an average of six hours of sleep or less per day.
In addition to the four traditional healthy lifestyle factors, sufficient sleep decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 65 percent and reduced the risk of a fatal cardiovascular event by 83 percent.
The study authors concluded, “Sufficient sleep and adherence to all four traditional healthy lifestyle factors was associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk. When sufficient sleep duration was added to the traditional lifestyle factors, the risk of cardiovascular disease was further reduced.”
The investigators evaluated 8,128 men and 9,759 women aged 20-65 years without cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. The subjects completed questionnaires regarding physical activity, diet, sleep, smoking status and alcohol consumption. The researchers evaluated the data for healthy lifestyle factors, including sufficient physical activity of 3.5 hours per week or greater (such as cycling or sports), a healthy diet determined as a Mediterranean Diet Score of 5 or greater, moderate alcohol consumption of one or more beverage per month, non-smoking and sufficient sleep duration of seven hours or greater. The researchers followed the subjects for 10-14 years to assess the development of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
During the follow-up period, 607 cardiovascular disease events occurred, including fatal cardiovascular disease events, non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, of which 129 were fatal events. Those people who met the criteria for the four traditional healthy lifestyle factors—sufficient physical activity, a healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking—had a 57 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 67 percent lower risk of fatal cardiovascular disease compared to the subjects with none or one of the healthy lifestyle factors.