A new study finds that people who sleep for eight hours each night are more likely to have heart health than those who get less than 8 hours.
In the study, researchers compared groups of individuals who slept for varied average lengths of time, observing how well each group met the seven criteria for “ideal” heart health as outlined in the American Heart Association.
Researchers saw that people who got 8 hours or more each night were 2.7 times were more likely to meet six or seven of the perfect heart-health criteria, compared with those who got less than 6 hours of sleep each night.
In the study, researchers examined data on 9,700 people who were all employees at Baptist Health South Florida, a health organization. The employees filled out questionnaires that included their lifestyle habits such as sleep duration and quality, physical activity levels, smoking and diet. They were then divided into three groups based on how long they slept; 8 or more hours a night, 6 to 7.9 hours a night, and 6 hours a night.
The researchers discovered that those who slept 8 or more hours each night were more than 1.6 times more likely to eat a balanced diet, 2.4 times more likely to get enough physical activity, 1.3 times more likely to have ideal blood pressure and 1.7 times more likely to have an ideal BMI, compared with those who slept less than 6 hours.
The results do not provide evidence of cause and effect. This means that getting less sleep each night does not necessarily cause an individual to meet less of the heart health criteria. However, the researchers deduced that getting more sleep is connected to ideal heart health and that the results highlight the importance of promoting good sleep in a working population.
They also added that more studies are required to confirm the results.