Sleeping too much or too little is almost as bad for the heart as smoking, according to one study.
Previous research provided no definitive answer as to whether lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease. A Sweden-based team of scientists attempted to provide new insights by examining 1,463 men born in Gothenburg in 1943.
Moa Bengtsson, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg, said: "For people with a busy life, it may sound like a waste of time, but our study suggests that short sleep could be associated with future cardiovascular disease.
" In In our study, the extent of increased cardiovascular risk in sleep deprivation is similar to smoking or diabetes at the age of 50 years.
Researchers conducted physical exams on the participants and asked them to complete a health questionnaire on factors such as how much they slept on average and how much they exercised and smoked.
Read more: Coconut oil is "pure poison," says Harvard professor
The data was subdivided into four groups: five hours sleep or less, six hours, seven to eight hours and more than eight hours between seven and eight hours finiert.
Participants were re-examined 21 years later and asked if they had heart problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or coronary revascularization. If the participant died, this was also noted.
Bengtsson said: "Men with the shortest sleep duration at the age of 50 years had a cardiovascular event twice as likely at the age of 71 years as those who had slept a normal amount, even if other risk factors were considered."
"This was an observational study, so we can not conclude from our findings that short sleep causes cardiovascular disease, or definitely say that sleeping more will reduce the risk, suggesting that sleep is important – and should a wake-up call for all of us. "
Men who had slept five or fewer hours a night were more likely to suffer from diabetes, obesity, and hypertension for those who slept for seven to eight hours.
The study will be presented at the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.