Racking For Eight: A Heart-Healthy Sleep Number

If you want a healthy heart go back to bed—for eight hours. While most heart research is directed at the negative outcomes associated with a lack of sleep, a new study focuses on the positive of a good night’s rest.

Researchers, who presented their findings at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions in November 2015, studied 9,700 employees from Baptist Health South Florida.

Based on ideal heart health guidelines established by the AHA, participants’ lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking, physical activity levels and sleep duration and quality were evaluated.

Researchers scored how many ideal targets of health participants met, such as blood pressure under 120/80 mm, body mass index under 25, blood glucose level under 140 mg/dL, total cholesterol level under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

Those who slept eight or more hours a night were 2.7 times more likely to meet six or seven of the criteria, compared with people who got less than six hours of sleep a night.

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