Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The risk of developing a major cardiovascular problem is doubled among middle aged men who sleep five hours or less, according to a study in Sweden.
Researchers found high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, current smoking, low physical activity and poor sleep quality were more common in men who slept five or fewer hours per night compared with those who got seven to eight hours. The study was presented Monday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, Germany.
"For people with busy lives, sleeping may feel like a waste of time but our study suggests that short sleep could be linked with future cardiovascular disease," study author Moa Bengtsson, of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, said in a press release.
The study examined 798 men living in Gothenburg starting in 1993, and following up with them for 21 years. They were divided into four groups based upon sleep duration -- five or less, six hours, seven to eight hours and more than eight hours.
They found men who slept five or fewer hours each night had a two-time higher risk of having a major cardiovascular event by age 71. It was the same risk after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors at the start of the study including obesity, diabetes and smoking.
"This was an observational study so based on our findings we cannot conclude that short sleep causes cardiovascular disease, or say definitively that sleeping more will reduce risk," Bengtsson said. "However, the findings do suggest that sleep is important -- and that should be a wake-up call to all of us."
During the conference, the impact of impact of sleep duration on CV health also was presented by a team from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece.
Researchers in that study performed a meta-analysis of 11 prospective studies published within the last five years that included 1 million adults with no known CVD, finding that sleeping too much might be even worse than sleeping too little.
People who had more than eight hours of sleep were at 32 percent greater risk of death from stroke, coronary heart disease or CVD compared with 6-8 hours. For those sleeping less than six hours, the risk was 11 percent.