Appropriate Sleep + Exercise Lower Risk of Stroke

New research suggests long sleepers are at increased risk for stroke.

Healthy behaviors that can greatly reduce adults’ stroke risk include getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night and exercising 30 to 60 minutes, three to six times a week.

The information was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016.

Researchers used a computerized analysis of health, lifestyle, demographic, and other factors among 288,888 adults (77 percent white; nearly half 45 or older) who participated in a survey from 2004 to 2013.

The analysis compared how long, average and short sleep durations and physical activity, such as walking, swimming, bicycling, gardening, and more, impact stroke risk.

Researchers found:

  • average sleepers who slept seven to eight hours a night were 25 percent less likely to have experienced a stroke;
  • long sleepers who got more than eight hours a night were 146 percent more likely to have suffered a stroke;
  • short sleepers who slept less than seven hours a night were 22 percent more likely to report having had a stroke.

Overall, investigators found that average sleep (seven to eight hours) and vigorous leisurely activity (30-60 minutes) three to six times per week significantly decreased stroke risk.

Authorities believe use of technology to capture and then analyze large, complex health information sets (big data) is an important new method for accurately determining health risks in populations.

Source: American Heart Association
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