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7 hours of sleep could benefit your heart

August 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seven may be the magic number when it comes to sleeping your way to a healthier heart.A new study shows that adults who regularly sleep seven hours a night have the lowest rates of coronary heart disease.

Researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine examined more than 30,000 adults who were free of cardiovascular disease at their initial examination.

They found that both short and long sleep durations were associated with an increased risk of angina and stroke. The findings were independent of age, sex, race-ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, physical activity, diabetes, hypertension and depression.

They found that people who slept five hours or less were more than two times more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and other conditions, when compared to people who slept for seven hours. According to researchers, those who slept nine hours or more were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Researchers did not provide reasons for the association, but lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure.

The study appears in the scientific journal SLEEP.