Sleep Linked To Metabolic Syndrome

Thursday 10th June 2010

People who routinely sleep for longer than average could be at increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and strokes, experts claim. Researchers at the University of Birmingham School of Medicine found that older people that slept for more than eight hours per day were more likely to have metabolic syndrome - a collection of risk factors including high blood pressure and high blood sugar that are linked to heart disease, diabetes, stokes and more. The news has shocked medical experts who believed that lack of sleep - not excess sleep - would be linked to ill health.

Researchers reached their conclusions by studying the sleeping patterns of over 29,000 people aged 50 or older. The study’s findings showed that older long sleepers were more likely to have excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels - the five collective risk factors used to diagnose metabolic syndrome. Researchers also found that older people who slept for over 8 hours actually did not achieve a greater volume of deep sleep than their shorter sleeping counterparts.

Researchers hope that medical professionals will be able to reduce the incidence of diabetes, stoke, heart disease and more by developing programmes that will alter sleep patterns in older people who are at higher risk of developing disease.

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