BOSTON—Regularly sleeping for less than six hours quadruples the rate of stroke symptoms among middle-aged and older persons with a normal BMI and a low risk of sleep-disordered breathing, according to a study that was presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Researchers found no association between a six-hour sleep duration and stroke symptoms among overweight and obese persons.
Unadjusted results indicated that a sleep duration of less than six hours as well as a sleep duration of nine hours or more were strong predictors of stroke symptoms, but the predictive strength of these factors decreased when the data were adjusted, said Megan Ruiter, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her colleagues noted a significant interaction between sleep duration and BMI, however.
Sleep duration of less than six hours was strongly associated with a greater incidence of stroke symptoms in the fully adjusted data model for participants with normal BMI. Sleep loss is associated with endothelial dysfunction, and it could increase stroke risk by this mechanism. “Perhaps this short sleep duration in these relatively healthy individuals might be a precursor to more traditional stroke risk factors down the road,” said Dr. Ruiter.