It increases the risk of heart disease
Lack of sleep is more dangerous for women than men, claims a study that suggests it increases the risk of heart disease more among females than males.
Eight hours is the recommended length of time people should spend in bed, the study discovered, but women who get less sleep have a higher chance of coronary problems than men with similar sleeping patterns.
Research by the University of Warwick and University College London (UCL) found levels of ‘inflammatory markers’ – indicators of coronary heart disease – vary significantly with sleep duration in women, but not men.
Dr Michelle Miller, associate professor of biochemical medicine at Warwick Medical School and lead author, said the findings ‘support the idea that short sleep is associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk and that the association between sleep duration and cardiovascular risk factors is markedly different in men and women’.
She said that the results were also ‘consistent with the idea that sleeping seven or eight hours per night appears to be optimal for health’.
The report was based on findings from the first large-scale study to investigate the associations between markers and sleep duration in both men and women, which involved more than 4,600 participants, of which 73% were men.
Participants between the ages of 35 and 55 were recruited between 1985 and 1988 from 20 London-based civil service departments and data for this study is from the follow-up in 1991 to 1993.
Sleep duration was determined by questionnaires, and general health was assessed during a screening examination.
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