A new study conducted by Mount Sinai Hospital's Icahn School of Medicine suggests that people with high blood pressure increase their chance of suffering a stroke when they sleep for less than five hours or more than eight hours each night.

Dr. Oluwaseun Akinseye and his team of researchers looked into how the duration of sleep affects the health of a person who suffers from hypertension.

By analyzing data from more than 200,000 Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure, the researchers discovered that participants who only slept an average of five hours or less each night had an 83 percent higher chance of experiencing a stroke compared with participants who had seven to eight hours of sleep.

Participants who slept an average of more than eight hours, on the other hand, had a 74 percent increased risk of having a stroke than people who had seven to eight hours of regular sleep.

Akinseye said the results were surprising because previous studies have shown that people who had shorter sleep only showed a slight increase in chances of having a stroke. He explained that their study, however, showed a significant rise in stroke risk.

Despite the alarming results, the researchers said the research was not intended to establish a cause-and-effect association between the duration of sleep and the chance of stroke in people with hypertension.

As of the moment, the findings of Mount Sinai Hospital's study can be considered preliminary since it is yet to be peer-reviewed or published. The complete research is set to be presented during the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.

According to Akinseye and his colleagues, an estimated one-third of American adults suffer from hypertension. The condition is known to be a risk factor for stroke and other heart diseases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that around 800,000 people suffer a stroke in the United States annually. It is also one of the primary causes of disability in Americans.

The CDC said a large number of stroke cases are caused by the formation of a blood clot in the brain. Some cases, however, are triggered by the bursting of blood vessels due to the high pressure.

The researchers collected nine years worth of data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) on 204,000 individuals with high blood pressure.

The results revealed that people who normally sleep for more than eight hours had an 11 percent chance to suffer a stroke overall, while people who sleep for an average of five hours or less had a six percent chance. Healthy sleepers, or those who sleep for eight hours regularly, had a five percent chance to have a stroke.

Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr 

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