Better sleep 'can enhance cardiovascular benefits of healthy living'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A good night's sleep can enhance the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, healthy diets, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking, new research has revealed.

This conclusion has been formed following a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands in which 6,672 men and 7,967 women aged 20 years and free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline were followed up for a mean period of 12 years.

“Getting the right amounts of sleep can increase the cardiovascular benefits of a healthy lifestyle, according to a new European study.“

Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57 percent lower risk of CVD and a 67 per cent reduction in the risk of fatal events.

However, when sufficient sleep of seven or more hours per night was added to these factors, the CVD risk reduction rose to 65 percent, while mortality rates dropped by 83 percent.

Lead investigator Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands said: "It is always important to confirm results, but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of cardiovascular disease risk factors."

Coronary heart disease is the UK's biggest killer, with NHS data showing that it causes around 82,000 deaths each year.

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