More news about the importance of sleep! Not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of stroke among healthy people age 45 and older.
Research presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies studied 5,666 adults age 45 and older who were not overweight, had normal body mass index, were free of stroke, had no stroke symptoms, and no sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing (Ruiter M, Howard VJ, Letter AJ, Kleindorfer D. Short sleep predicts stroke symptoms in persons of normal weight. SLEEP 2012; June 11, 2012; Boston, MA. Abstract 0829).
Ruiter, et. al. found that people who routinely slept less than six hours a night had a 4.5 times greater risk of developing stroke symptoms compared to those who slept 7-8 hours a night.
Dr. Phyllis C. Zee, associate director for Sleep & Circadian Biology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine points out that "chronic sleep deprivation caused by getting too little most nights may boost the risk of stroke because it causes changes in the autonomic functions of the body, including blood pressure, heart rate, inflammation and glucose levels" (http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/11/12127560).
Researcher Ruiter's take-home message is, "Don't blow it off. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise" (www.theheart.org/article/1414069.do).
The recommendation: Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.