June 6 (UPI) -- Adults who reported sleeping seven hours each day had the lowest excess heart age compared to those with too much or too little times, according to a study.
Researchers studied the effects of sleep on cardiovascular conditions, finding that those who got less than the seven hours had the highest excess heart age but longer times also were a factor in increasing heart age. Findings from the study were presented this week at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Baltimore.
"These results are important because they demonstrate a quantitative method for the inclusion of sleep duration in the establishment and communication of cardiovascular risk for individuals," study author Julia Durmer, an undergraduate student at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Heath in Atlanta, said in a press release. "This could have utility in the clinical care of patients with cardiovascular risk, and for public health researchers interested in adding a sleep metric to future studies."
A person's excess heart age is the number of years greater than their real age that their heart appears to be. For example, the heart age of a 45-year-old male with risk factors of high blood pressure, smoking, health weight and diabetes would be the equivalent of a 75-year-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 12,775 adults ranging in age from 30-74 who responded to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007-14.
The participants self-reported their sleep duration, with results classified into five categories -- based on those who slept about 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 nine hours per night.
The EHA was 5.2 for less than five hours of sleep, 4.6 for six hours, 3.7 for seven hours, 4.5 for eight hours and 4.0 for greater than eight hours.
Compared with seven hours of sleep, the risk of excess heart age of more than 10 years was 25 percent greater than those who slept less than five hours and 15 percent more for those who slept less than 6 hours.
People who don't sleep enough or too much have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits, according to the National Sleep Foundation.