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Stroke Risk Spikes In Healthy Adults Who Don't Get Enough Sleep 70

Posted by timothy
from the use-this-fact-in-salary-negotiations dept.
hessian writes "Attention, busy middle-aged folks. You may be healthy and thin, but if you habitually sleep less than six hours a night, you still could be boosting your risk of a stroke. That's the surprising conclusion of a new study being presented Monday at SLEEP 2012, the annual meeting of the nation's sleep experts."
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Stroke Risk Spikes In Healthy Adults Who Don't Get Enough Sleep

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  • Time to cut back on that gaming all nighters once you hit 30 then. Need to get as many as possible until then!
    • Re:Damn (Score:5, Funny)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:22AM (#40294547) Homepage

      Time to cut back on that gaming all nighters once you hit 30 then.
      Need to get as many as possible until then!

      But only if you have a normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

      FTFA

      In people who fell into normal weight categories -- a body mass index of 18.5 to nearly 25 -- those who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were at about 4.5 times greater risk of developing stroke symptoms than whose who slept seven and eight hours a night. Surprisingly, that increase wasn't apparent in overweight or obese people who slept less.

      The increased stroke risk ONLY OCCURRED IN NORMALLY SIZED PATIENTS

      The application of this study to the Slashdot population should be obvious. Not to worry.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Probably because the risk increase from being overweight was more than risk increase from not sleeping.

      • by Coisiche (2000870)

        The increased stroke risk ONLY OCCURRED IN NORMALLY SIZED PATIENTS

        Did get me wondering if stroke risk between USA and Europe is significantly different but there's probably just too many other lifestyle differences for an accurate comparison.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Have you people failed to read the brochures provided when your Wi-Fi electric meters were installed?

          Do not interrupt sleep while your RFID DRM Memory Audit Chip (most likely installed with your last flu shot) is being polled to see what you heard and watched during the previous day.

          - - - - -
          7 of 9 Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 001

      • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:45AM (#40294803)

        The increased stroke risk ONLY OCCURRED IN NORMALLY SIZED PATIENTS

        Never mind all that. The real gem is this:

        those who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were at about 4.5 times greater risk of developing stroke symptoms...

        So they didn't actually measure how much sleep the subjects got. They just took their word on it. Given that some people will overestimate or underestimate their sleep, this could just mean that the people who tend to underreport their sleep are the same people who tend to have strokes.

        Basically, the study is useless.

        • Luckily I sleep 12 hours every night(read: day)
        • by ignavus (213578)

          So they didn't actually measure how much sleep the subjects got. They just took their word on it. Given that some people will overestimate or underestimate their sleep, this could just mean that the people who tend to underreport their sleep are the same people who tend to have strokes.

          Basically, the study is useless.

          Not really. As long as you are prone to exaggerating the amount of sleep you get, you'll be OK.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I had an uncle who died of stroke at age 28. Don't wait until you're thirty to get sleep. Not enough sleep has a few other bad effects, too, one of which is aging rapidly. Those people you see who are 40 and look 60? They smoke and don't get enough sleep.

      • Reminds me of the people who say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead". Yes, yes you will.. and probably sooner than you think.
      • by camperslo (704715)

        I wonder how many of those who had strokes had high blood pressure, or other risk factors not mentioned (not sleeping while high?). Knowing how many smoked, did drugs, had high sodium diets, etc. might give more meaning to the numbers. Since strokes aren't always fatal, blood pressure checks comparing survivors with the general population might be statistically useful. Do people that get laid before sleep have fewer strokes? They probably sleep better. I guess that might count as having more exercise t

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Well, the study didn't say that sleeping more lessens the chances of stroke. It could be that the factors that cause stroke also cause one to get less sleep. If that were the case, lack of sleep would still be related to stroke, even though there would be no direct causation between them. Still, it's been my experience (sample size of one, I know) that not getting enough sleep does adversely affect health. Mine, anyway. It also affects my cognitive abilities (this has been studied and the studies confirm it

  • The SLEEP 2012 was a total snooze fest.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:28AM (#40294611)

    Always trying to get us to sleep more, they only want you to sleep more so they can keep making their fat profits at your expense.

    Wake up sheeple!

  • by EzInKy (115248) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:29AM (#40294625)

    Interesting! Could it be that using the BMI as a determining factor in who is healthy and who is not is in itself a flawed concept? Perhaps the amount of sleep needed is related to caloric intake, and the caloric intake necessary to maintain a BMI less than 25 is not sufficient to avoid stroke? Certainly there is more here than meets the eye. I'd strongly recommend much further study before anyone changes their lifestyles due to this study.

    • by MadKeithV (102058)

      Interesting! Could it be that using the BMI as a determining factor in who is healthy and who is not is in itself a flawed concept?

      Like one of the above posters said: I'd put my bets on high BMI already being such a big factor in strokes that it drowns out the lack of sleep effect.

      • by EzInKy (115248)

        But this is serious stuff! What do I tell my patients? That if you are 6'0 and weigh 185lbs you will live on average 70yrs but if you are 6'0 180lbs you will live on average 72yrs? And then, if you die at 70 you will be mentally and physically intact but at 72 you won't? Seriously, I'm just looking for some hard numbers and data here.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Of course using the BMI to determine anything is a flawed concept. The BMI in itself is not scientific, and is based on pseudoscience, working off ~130ish year old models for something that it didn't even work for properly in the first place.

    • Yes. There is such a thing as "too thin".

      Body systems shut down.

      Not getting enough fat in your diet does bad things to you.

    • Or not caloric intake per se, but perhaps e.g. protective fatty acids, which are usually found in trace amounts in western diets, so a large caloric intake is required to get sufficient quantities. Or any number of other possibilities.

      The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but, "that's funny." - Isaac Asimov

  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:41AM (#40294761)

    TFA, at least, doesn't even mention segmented sleep [goo.gl] or how that might alter this alleged dynamic. Since there seems to be irrefutable evidence that the Industrial Age is the specific cause of this change in our sleep patterns and a prescriptive (if subconscious) effort to pigeonhole our sleep into one neat temporal compartment, why do these supposed experts continue to promote the Industrial Age myth of a single eight-hour sleep cycle? Why don't they consider the possibility that it might be our efforts as a civilization to force our sleep patterns into a single tightly regimented box that is causing the increased risk of stroke and other problems?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JustOK (667959)

      sleeping outside the box...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Snoopy slept outside the box before it was cool. (on top of, to be precise)

  • FTFA

    "Attention, busy middle-aged folks. You may be healthy and thin, but if you habitually sleep less than six hours a night, you still could be boosting your risk of a stroke."

    That sure grabs a headline, but seriously. What proof do you have that that is the cause? What if there's something broken elsewhere, that we don't know about? That's not nearly as sensational enough for Mainstream Media, though. :(
  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:58AM (#40294937) Journal
    At least for the purpose of argument, I'm assuming that the statistical epidemiology is accurate; but that leaves me very curious indeed about what the mechanism is.

    I wouldn't have expected getting more or less sleep to affect the structural integrity of some unlucky blood vessel in your brain. Are there any clues about why such a dramatic effect might occur?
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:04AM (#40295847)

      Are there any clues about why such a dramatic effect might occur?

      I have high blood pressure, and monitor it daily. If I don't get enough sleep my BP is higher. If I pull an all nighter (get zero sleep) my BP will go up by 20 points. For someone who already has high BP, that is enough to cause a stroke.

  • I mean this is a study by a bunch of guys who are promoting sleep, and they are saying more sleep is better for you because it can prevent strokes. Hmmmmm
    • by uncqual (836337)
      This study was probably sponsored by mattress companies.

      However, I've been told that there are other activities that wear out mattresses more quickly than sleeping -- perhaps their corporate research dollars would be better spent on studies which find that those activities are good for your health.

      (Although, rumor has it that at least one party to such activities tends to go to sleep quickly thereafter -- so perhaps this study is complementary to such additional studies.)

      Of course, the mattress com
  • That must be a quiet meeting.

  • by fluor2 (242824) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:19AM (#40295181)

    This is a chicken-and-egg mystery. Concluding that the health risk is because of bad sleep is just a statistically qualified conclusion.

    People often cannot sleep because of a lot of different problems. Most of them are diffuse, and sadly often treated by medicines that just help you sleep or similar.

    Finding the cause of why you can't sleep is very time consuming and often impossible by current technology, unless you believe Dr House is a representative of the average doctor.

    The heart is a muscle like any other; it needs to have a break. This is called sleep and should last at least 5-6 hours every day. When you cannot sleep, it might be because the circulation of blood is somehow hindered, or something else sending warning signals to our brain that something is wrong. Thus one gets alert and one cannot sleep.

    If one has trouble sleeping over a long period, the heart muscle gets tired. A very dangerous situation likely to end in a stroke.

    (Mind you, I am not a doctor.)

    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      A stroke is in the brain, not the heart. And what does sleep have to do with resting the heart? It keeps beating when you sleep, did you know?
      • by fluor2 (242824)

        Nice. You reacted.

        There are vast studies of the pulse lowering when you sleep. Thus heart resting.

        There are also studies that shows that people with a higher pulse than their normal average is more likely having a death risk if they do not manage to get their pulse lowered to their previous average.

      • by cusco (717999)
        People sleep laying down, making it easier for the heart to move blood around. The gravity gradient is not easy to overcome with channels as narrow as blood vessels. The body is less active during sleep, meaning that there is less need for blood to be moved quickly as well.
  • So if you reduce your sleep time even more, the risk of stroke decreases?

  • Stroke Risk Spikes In Healthy Adults Who Don't Get Enough Sleep

    Thank God I'm an unhealthy adult who doesn't get enough sleep.

  • A few days ago http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20120607/coffee-may-help-turn-tide-on-alzheimers-disease [webmd.com] came out. so sleep and get alzheimers or stay awake and get a stroke... I'd consider skydiving lessons...
    • by uncqual (836337)
      Skip the lessons and move directly to solo skydiving w/o training -- your strategy will probably be more effective that way.
  • That's OK because I drink lots of coffee [webmd.com] to combat lack of sleep.
  • The main cause of stroke is high blood pressure. They should phrase it "sleep dep increases blood pressure". I guess they get more media bang for the buck if they say stroke.
    • by EzInKy (115248)

      The main cause of stroke is lack of blood to the brain. Reducing blood pressure can actually cause a stroke because it reduces the cerebral perfusion pressure.

  • ... sounds like something anyone could lose sleep over.

  • Is someone from Usenix sneaking into the Sleep panels? Come-on, fess up... ;-)

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