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Sleeping less than 5 hours can double risk of clogged arteries — Study

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People who sleep less than five hours a night could be at 74 per cent risk of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), a study in the European Heart Journal said.

This was contained in the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) publication posted on its website on Thursday.

The study authored by Dr Shuai Yuan, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, said that sleeping for seven to eight hours a night was a good habit for lowering the risk of PAD.

Yuan said that more than 200 million people globally have PAD, a condition where arteries in the legs are clogged, restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

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“Insufficient night-time sleep and daytime napping have previously been associated with a raised risk of coronary artery disease which, like PAD, is caused by clogged arteries.

“In addition, sleeping problems are among the top ranked complaints in PAD patients.

“There are limited data on the impact of sleep habits on PAD and vice versa, and our study aimed to fill that gap,” he said.

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Yuan said that the study included more than 650,000 participants and was conducted in two parts.

“First, the researchers analysed the associations of sleep duration and daytime napping with the risk of PAD.

“In the second part, the investigators used genetic data to perform naturally randomised controlled trials – called Mendelian randomisation – to examine causality of the associations,” he said.

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Yuan said that the results indicate that brief night-time sleep could raise the chance of developing PAD, and having PAD increases the risk of getting insufficient sleep.

According to him, more research is needed on how to interrupt the bidirectional link between short sleep and PAD.

Yuan said that lifestyle changes that help people get more sleep, such as being physically active, may lower the risk of developing PAD.

“For patients with PAD, optimising pain management could enable them to have a good night’s sleep,” he said.

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