Poor Sleep Pattern Leads to Stroke and Heart Disease

In the most recent studies conducted by US researchers, it has been found out that not getting enough sleep at night would lead to higher levels of inflammation which is a known risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

A cardiology expert at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Dr. Alanna Morris, confirmed that these findings were accurate. She said that inflammation has always been the immediate results of lack of sleep resulting to significant changes in the elasticity of the blood vessels.  This data was recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

The data in which Morris and colleagues extracted their conclusion from are taken from 525 middle-aged subjects; they were asked to fill up Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires. Among these subjects 47 per cent were African-American while 61 per cent were female. The PSQI asked the participants about their sleep pattern, quality and duration.

The experts analyzed the data they acquired from the participants and grouped them into three according to their sleep duration; 9 or more hours, between 8.9 and 6 hours, and 6 hours and below. When a person gets a score of six, it is considered as ‘poor sleep’, thus unhealthy.

There were also three levels of inflammatory markers; C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, and fibrinogen.

C-reactive protein is considered the worst case as it is used as a marker of inflammation leading to stroke and heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) said that the people whose CRP is 3 mg per liter or more has twice the risk of a stroke or heart attack compared with than people who have lower levels of CRP. Thus, the risk of heart-related disease can be directly proportional to the levels of CRP in a person.

Among the other findings of Dr. Morris and US researchers are the following;

1. The three level of inflammation markers differ according to the three sleep duration categories.

2. Among the subjects, those who have lower sleep quality and duration are found out to have high levels of IL-6, CRP and fibrinogen.

3. People with sleep duration of 9 down to 6 hours did not show any significant symptoms of inflammation.

The conclusion made by Dr. Alanna Morris, et al is that, poor quality and short duration of sleep are always associated with higher levels of risks of heart diseases due to high levels of inflammation. Thus, improving the quality of sleep and having longer sleep duration would dramatically improve the condition of a person eliminating the risks of heart diseases and strokes caused by inflammation.

Further studies show that sleeping between 7 and 8 hours would help a person live longer, while sleeping less or more than that would make the lifespan shorter. Shorter sleep duration causes inflammation leading to cardiovascular diseases while sleeping longer than 8 hours would also lead to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Therefore, for a person to avoid heart disease and strokes, sleeping between 7 and 8 hours everyday is advised. Going beyond the boundaries of this range will result to unhealthy body conditions over time.


Harold is a health practitioner with years of experience in alternative medicine and healing. He also maintains a health blog catering factual advises to help people with illness or disorders but currently focusing on researching for ways to treat or prevent sleep apnea in adults and children.

8 thoughts on “Poor Sleep Pattern Leads to Stroke and Heart Disease

  • April 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve done a lot of research into sleep patterns and the most shocking thing I found out is the effect sleeping MORE than 8 hours will have on strokes. If you’re sleeping 10 hours a day, it’s no good for your heart!

  • November 22, 2010 at 4:46 am

    I believe that sleeping too much is just as harmful as sleeping too little. But how much exactly is “too little” or “too much” differs from person to person. You can change the amount of sleep that you need by increasing the quality of sleep and by having a very strict sleep schedule.

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  • November 18, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Hi Patricia,

    I agree with you. I, myself, am healthy and fit even if I sleep 4 to 5 hours daily. I guess it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

    But believe me, I know a lot of people who’ll palpitate whenever they get short hours of sleep.

    I do believe there really is a connection between cardiovascular diseases and lack of sleep, as mentioned in the study of Dr. Morris, et al.

    A day or two of having not enough sleep won’t really affect our health in general. But in the long run, the body will be stressed.

    It’s always better to become healthy and stay fit. And sleeping, I believe, is just one of the things we shouldn’t take for granted. :)

    Thanks for reading, Patricia. You’ve got a nice blog, too!


  • November 18, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Hi Harold

    Interesting study. There must be some exceptions to the rule as some people who sleep less hours have lived to old age! I myself sleep 6hours a night and seem to be fit and healthy.

    Patricia Perth Australia


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