Posted on June 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Thursday, Jun 14 at 4:00 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- You’ve always heard that adults should sleep about eight hours a night. Most of us get far less than that. A new study showed that habit could put you at greater risk for stroke.
Dr. Lee Birnbaum is a UT Medicine neurologist who sees first-hand the devastating effects of stroke. The brain attack can disable patients and many times leads to death. Now comes a new study that showed adequate sleep is important for preventing strokes.
“It’s easier said than done for most of us to get eight hours of good sleep every night,” Birnbaum commented.
The study followed 5,600 people for three years. The participants were normal weight, otherwise healthy adults over 45 years old.
The results showed people who got less than six hours of shut-eye a night were at 4.5 times greater risk of developing a stroke than those who slept seven or eight hours a night.
“What’s particularly interesting is the four-fold increase,” Birnbaum said. “It’s a very strong predictor of having a stroke.”
The biology of the increased risk isn’t understood. It may be that lack of sleep leads to higher blood pressure through the night and day. Or lack of sleep may lead to increased stress during the waking hours.
While many people concentrate on diet and exercise, they often scrimp on sleep.
“What’s particularly exciting is that this is something that all of us can be proactive with and can modify our lives to get more sleep, be healthier, and prevent stroke,” Birnbaum added.
Risk factors for stroke you can control are things like high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes. Now you may want to add to that list lack of regular quality sleep.