Sleeping for longer than the recommended eight hours a day can double your risk of a stroke, a study has revealed.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge began collecting data in 1998 by asking 10,000 people aged between 42 and 81 how long they slept each day. They checked their sleeping patterns four years later and then six year after that.
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And the study found that those who were sleeping either less than six hours a night or more than eight hours were four times as likely to suffer a stroke.
‘It’s apparent both from our own participants and the wealth of international data that there’s a link between sleeping longer than average and a greater risk of stroke,’ said Yue Leng, of the University of Cambridge.
‘What is far less clear, however, is the direction of this link, whether longer sleep is a symptom, an early marker or a cause of cardiovascular problems.
‘In this study we are implying that a long sleep is an indicator that we could be at risk of stroke. It is not suggesting longer sleep itself is a risk factor.
‘More research is definitely needed. This is the first one in the UK to find this association and we found sleeping duration is an indicator.’
A final analysis by the team included more than 500,00 people from 11 other global studies and support their own findings.
The study was supported by the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.
The research team believe the finding could help save the NHS money in the long term.