Sleeping over eight hours a day linked to increase risk of stroke

Fri, 27 Feb 2015
Research suggests that people who sleep for more than eight hours a day are more likely to have a stroke compared to people who sleep between six and eight hours.

The University of Cambridge conducted a study of nearly 100,000 people aged between 42 and 81. The study lasted for ten years, with the amount of sleep participants got each night recorded, as well as whether they had a stroke.

Roughly one in 10 slept for longer than eight hours a night, on average, and this group were 46 per cent higher than the average risk of having a stroke.

People with diabetes face a greater risk of stroke, but maintaining control of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk.

Health problems such as diabetes and obesity have previously been linked to oversleeping, with a typical amount of sleep adults need to feel rested being between six and eight hours.

Experts do not know why these results occurred, and are uncertain if sleeping for longer than eight hours increases the risk of stroke, or whether this was an indicator of an underlying condition.

The researchers now aim to further investigate their findings, attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms behind their results.

Senior author of the study Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, Cambridge Institute of Public Health, said: "We need to understand the reasons behind the link between stress and stroke risk. What is happening in the body that causes this link? With further research we may find that excessive sleep proves to be an early indicator of increased stroke risk, particularly among older people."
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