Here’s another thing insomniacs can lose sleep over: If you get only five hours of sleep every night, it doubles your chance of dying of a heart attack. That conclusion emerged from a study by British scientists of more than 10,000 civil servants over an eight-year period. Those who cut back on their slumber from seven hours a night to five or less were much more likely to develop cardiovascular problems and to die prematurely. Most human beings are programmed for about seven hours of sleep, says the study’s author, British sleep researcher Francesco Cappuccio. But in Western societies, people are surrendering shut-eye to work extra hours, watch TV, or otherwise cope with too-busy schedules. “Sleep represents the daily process of physiological restitution and recovery, and lack of sleep has far-reaching effects,” he tells BBC News. Curiously, his study found that too much sleep is just as dangerous as too little, with people who sleep more than eight hours also dying at twice the normal rate.
Health scare of the week
October 5, 2007
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