Less Sleep Can Cause Stroke, Diabetes, High BP: Study

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By Smitha Nambiar | July 24, 2014 5:06 PM EST

People who get less than six hours' sleep in the night are at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke, developing type 2 diabetes and high BP, say researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


A member of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) sleeps during a vote counting session for the parliamentary election at an analysis centre in Baghdad May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a normal-weight person aged 45 and more getting less thsn six hours of sleep is at a higher risk of suffering from stroke and even developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

According to Dr. Phyllis C. Zee, associate director for Sleep & Circadian Biology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine, sleeping less or severe sleep deprivation can higher the risk of stroke, simply because it causes changes in the autonomic functions of the body, including blood pressure, heart rate, inflammation and glucose levels. "It not only affects the blood vessels to the heart and body, but also to the brain," added Zee.

Those who get less than seven hours of sleep per day are found to be uncoordinated, with slower reaction times, bad moods and bad interpersonal skills.

Researcher Megan Ruiter, who led the REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reviewed the data collected from approximately 30,239 people participating in the study to assess the effect of sleep deprivation on people. The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The study revealed that normal people with a body mass index of 18.5 to nearly 25, and getting less than six hours of sleep every night were at nearly  4.5 times at a higher risk of developing stroke symptoms than whose who slept seven and eight hours a night.

Apart from stroke, lack of sleep in the night can also put the individual at a risk for:

-    Heart disease
-    Irregular heartbeat
-    Heart attack
-    Heart failure
-    High blood pressure
-    Irregular heartbeat
-    Diabetes

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A member of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) sleeps during a vote counting session for the parliamentary election at an analysis centre in Baghdad May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
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