By Emily Price
September 5, 2018

Getting a good night’s sleep just became more important. Three new studies found that getting between six to eight hours of sleep nightly can do wonders for your heart’s health and can help lower the risk of a stroke.

The research was presented last week during a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, USA Today reports.

One study found that people who didn’t sleep enough had a greater risk of developing or dying from coronary artery disease or stroke, while the other two found that people who don’t sleep enough face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and hardened arteries. Researchers compared the cardiovascular risk of not getting enough sleep to the effects of smoking or having diabetes later in life.

“More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we do know that sleep influences biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure and inflammation – all of which have an impact on cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Epameinondas Fountas, the study’s author who works for the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Greece, said in a statement.

Last year, a study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found a strong correlation between the amount of sleep people get and how long they live, in essence determining that sleeping less leads to a shorter life expectancy. That study found that adults age 45 and older who slept less than six hours nightly were 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime than those who slept seven or eight hours.

A lack of sleep has also been associated with weight gain, relapses in addiction, and the development of Alzheimer’s.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society suggests that people sleep at least seven hours each night.

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