WASHINGTON: Habitually sleeping less than six hours a night significantly increases the risk of stroke symptoms among middle-age to older adults, according to a research presented at the SLEEP 2012 conference.
The study, which followed about 5,600 people for about three years, concluded that poor sleep can undermine all the other things we do, China’s Xinhua news agency said.
The participants had no history of stroke, transient ischemic attack, stroke symptoms or high risk for obstructive sleep apnea at the start of the study.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recorded the first stroke symptoms, along with demographic information, stroke risk factors, depression symptoms and various health behaviours.
After adjusting for body-mass index, they found a strong association with daily sleep periods of less than six hours and a greater incidence of stroke symptoms for middle-age to older adults, even beyond other risk factors.
“We speculate that short sleep duration is a precursor to other traditional stroke risk factors, and once these traditional stroke risk factors are present, then perhaps they become stronger risk factors than sleep duration alone,” lead author Megan Ruiter said in a statement.
Further research may support the results, providing a strong argument for increasing public awareness of the impact of sleep as a risk factor for stroke symptoms, especially among persons who appear to have few or no traditional risk factors for stroke, she said.