For some people, partying all night before an early morning work can be fun; cramming to finish schoolwork might just be how it goes for a typical college student; and couching in front of the TV to complete the whole season of a favorite series can be a way to relax. A groggy next day can be worth it, however, we sometimes fail to realize that getting enough sleep is much more relaxing - and healthier - in the long run.

The National Sleep Foundation says adults from ages 18-64 need 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, while those from ages 65 and up need 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.

Lack of sleep not only causes pain and dementia, it also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Professor Valery Gafarov of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Novosibirsk, Russia led a study to find out if poor sleep could be tied to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

At the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology, Gafarov and team presented their findings at the EuroHeartCare 2015.

The study started in 1994, with its subjects comprising 657 Russian men from ages 25-64. None of these men had any history of diabetes, stroke or heart attack. Sleep ratings resulting from a sleeping disorder were tagged as "poor," "bad" or "very bad." The study used the Jenkins Sleep Scale to determine frequency and difficulty of sleep of the participants. For 14 years, the team took a look at episodes of heart attack and stroke.

In this experiment, Gafarov's team confirmed that those with sleep disorders have around 2-2.6 times higher risk of heart attack, and 1.5-4 times at higher risk of stroke.

At the top of the list prone to heart attack and stroke are those who were divorced or widowed; heavy to manual laborers; and those who had not graduated from high school.

"Sleep is not a trivial issue. In our study it was associated with double the risk of a heart attack and up to four times the risk of stroke," Gafarov says.

"Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet. Guidelines should add sleep as a risk factor to recommendations for preventing cardiovascular disease," the Professor also adds.

Photo: Petra | Flickr

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