Whether you need to sleep with a fan or need three pillows to sleep in, we all have our preferences when it comes to our nightly routines. But aside from a grumpy morning or a stiff neck, many of us don’t think about how these sleeping habits can have a serious impact on our overall health. Recent research has shown that the way you sleep can significantly increase your chances of having a stroke. Read on to find out if your sleep routine increases your risk of stroke by 85 percent.
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A 2019 study published in the Neurology Journal looked at the effects of sleep on stroke risk. The study’s researchers analyzed more than 31,000 retirees for six years and had them fill out questionnaires about their sleep and nap patterns. Over the course of the study, more than 1,500 of the participants suffered a stroke.
According to the study, two factors contributed to increasing the risk of stroke: long naps and long sleep. People who both slept more than nine hours and reported more than 90 minutes of nap time were at an 85 percent risk of stroke than people who both slept moderately and slept.
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However, you don’t have to be both a late riser and a late riser for your risk to be higher. Each of these habits also increases your risk separately. People who took an afternoon nap longer than 90 minutes were 25 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who took a moderate nap for 30 minutes or less. And in terms of long sleep at night, people who slept nine or more hours a night were 23 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night.
The study was unable to conclude exactly why this relationship exists between sleep patterns and stroke. But co-authored the study Xiaomin Zhang, MD, a professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said in a statement that long naps and sleep indicate a “generally inactive lifestyle” that could contribute to increased risk of stroke.
“More research is needed to understand how long naps and sleeping longer at night can be linked to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long naps and sleepers have adverse changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist size, which are risk factors for a stroke, “said Zhang.
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But it’s not just about how long you sleep. According to the study, poor sleep quality also contributes to an increased risk of stroke. The researchers found that those participants who reported poor quality sleep had a 29 percent higher risk of an overall stroke than those who reported good sleep quality. Looking at both late risers and poor sleep quality, the risk of stroke was 82 percent higher than for moderate sleepers with good sleep quality.
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