These common sleeping habits might put you at ‘increased risk of stroke’

Is it time to change your sleeping habits?

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If you sleep nine hours a night or take regular naps, you could be at greater risk of a stroke, according to new research.

Researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China quizzed over 31,000 healthy Chinese adults with an average age of 61.7 years about their sleep habits.

They found that those who slept nine or more hours a night were 23 per cent more likely to go on to have a stroke.

Over the course of six years, researchers discovered there were 1,438 definite and 119 probable stroke cases amongst those asked.

In fact, participants who reported regular naps of longer than 90 minutes were 25 per cent more likely to have a stroke than people who napped for under half an hour.

Long periods of sleep seemed to be concerning, as those who both slept for nine or more hours a night and had lengthy naps were 85 per cent more likely to later have a stroke.

Sleeping this much could be indicative of other health problems, as someone who sleeps for nine hours shouldn’t need to have regular naps too.

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Quality of sleep is also important to consider, as those who had disrupted sleep during the nine hours were 82 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

Study author Xiaomin Zhang said, “More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavourable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke.

“In addition, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke.”

Barbara Kobson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, responded to the study, “We know how long and well we sleep can have an effect on our heart and circulatory health. This study suggests that sleeping for a longer time, getting sleep of poor quality, or taking long midday naps could be associated with an increased risk of stroke.

She added, “Although this is an interesting study it was carried out among middle-age and older Chinese adults, so we can’t be sure that these findings are relevant to people in the UK. Further research would therefore be needed to confirm the findings of this study.”