More than eight hours sleep may increase the risk of stroke

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Sleeping more than eight hours a night may have an increased risk of stroke, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

The research found that people who slept more than eight hours a night, called long sleepers, were 46% more likely to have a stroke than people who had six to eight hours a night, which is said to be an average amount.

Those who shifted over time from sleeping less than six hours a night to sleeping more than eight hours a night were nearly four times as likely to have a stroke as people who consistently slept an average amount.

The study involved 9,692 people with an average age of 62 who had never had a stroke. The participants were followed for an average of 9.5 years. During that time, 346 people had a stroke.

“We don’t know yet whether long sleep is a cause, consequence or early marker of ill health,” said study author Yue Leng,of the University of Cambridge. “More research is needed to understand the relationship between long sleep and stroke.”

Alberto Ramos, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, wrote a corresponding editorial, saying: “Since people whose sleep patterns changed from short to long were nearly four times as likely to have a stroke, it’s possible that this could serve as an early warning sign, suggesting the need for additional tests or for people to take steps known to reduce stroke risk, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.”

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