Getting enough sleep is always important, but it's especially critical as you get older and your risk increases for certain diseases, especially heart disease. Yet, many of us struggle through with fewer hours of sleep than we need thinking that we can someday resolve our "sleep deficit."
A new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research indicates that may be a very unhealthy idea.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that people who suffer from sleep disturbances are more likely to become obese, get diabetes and suffer from coronary artery disease. This is a major study – looking at more than 130,000 people. The researchers found some disturbing numbers if you (like me) often have a rough night. People who had three or more sleep disturbances a week were:
- 35 percent more likely to be obese
- 54 percent more likely to have diabetes
- 98 percent more likely to have coronary artery disease
- 80 percent more likely to have had a heart attack
- 102 percent more likely to have had a stroke
Sleep disturbances were defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If this hits home with you, talk to your doctor about whether you need to see a sleep medicine specialist for a comprehensive sleep study that can pinpoint what's keeping you awake.