DagwoodBumstead, the main character in Chic Young's comic strip Blondie.
A good night's sleep can increase the benefit of exercise, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking in their protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to results of a large population follow-up study.
Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) and a 67% lower risk of fatal events.
But, when "sufficient sleep" (defined as seven or more hours a night) was added to the other four lifestyle factors, the overall protective benefit was even further increased -- and resulted in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and a 83% lower risk of fatal events.
As an explanation for the results, the investigators note that short sleep duration has been associated with a higher incidence of overweight, obesity and hypertension and with higher levels of blood pressure, total cholesterol, haemoglobin A, and triglycerides, effects which are "consistent with the hypothesis that short sleep duration is directly associated with CVD risk."
The study's principal investigator, Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, said that the importance of sufficient sleep "should now be mentioned as an additional way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." "It is always important to confirm results," she added, "but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of CVD risk factors."
Dr Verschuren noted that seven hours is the average sleeping time that "is likely to be sufficient for most people."
The above story is based on the July 3, 2013 news release by European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
The study is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the official journal of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation:
Hoevenaar-Blom M, Spijkerman AMW, Kromhout D, Verschuren WMM. Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/2047487313493057