If you’re a night owl, getting more sleep may be just what you need to protect yourself from heart disease and metabolic disorders

This is according to a Journal of Sleep Research analysis led by researchers from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.

It’s known that sleeping less than seven hours is associated with an increased cardiometabolic risk – or the risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders.

The analysis included seven studies that aimed to increase sleep duration in adults by any sleep extension intervention. These studies had a combined number of 138 participants who were either healthy, healthy short-sleeping, overweight short-sleeping or pre- or hypertensive short-sleeping individuals.

The duration of the sleep extension interventions ranged from three days to six weeks and all successfully increased total sleep time by between 21 and 177 minutes.

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Why a lack of sleep is bad for your heart

The benefits of getting more shut-eye

Sleep extension was associated with the following:

  • Improved measures of insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced overall appetite
  • Reduced desire for sweet and salty foods
  • Reduced daily intake of sugar and daily percentage of caloric intake from protein

“Given the overwhelming evidence that sleeping less than seven hours is associated with an increased cardiometabolic risk, it is surprising that so few studies have explored whether extending sleep duration can lower cardiometabolic risk,” says lead author Rob Henst, a PhD candidate. He noted that this review highlights the need for such studies and provides direction for future study designs.

“Although we have focused on studies with sleep extension interventions in this review, it is now apparent that poor sleep quality may be an equally important risk factor for cardiometabolic disease,” adds senior author Dr Dale Rae. “Thus future studies testing interventions aimed at improving sleep quality are also required.”

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Source: Wiley Newsroom Link to study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsr.12865

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