It is a common misconception that getting little or no sleep will only affect your energy levels the next day.

Research shows that the effects of sleeping badly may in fact have far graver consequences. Those who suffer from sleep disorders are more likely to develop a variety of different medical conditions as they age.

How Does A Lack Of Sleep Affect Your Heart?

Lack of sleep heightens risk of heart attack and stroke

A lack of sleep has been shown to be linked with memory loss or strokes later in life, with those who sleep less than seven hours per night at higher risk of a stroke. Now scientists claim that a lack of sleep heightens the risk of suffering a heart attack.

Researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO) state that sleeping disorders are as damaging to your heart as smoking or a lack of exercise.

“Sleep is not a trivial issue. Sleeping disorders were associated with greatly increased incidences of both heart attack and stroke. Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet,” said Professor Valery Gafarov.

The average human should sleep 7-8 hours per night, and anyone with an inability to do so should seek advice from a sleep doctor.

Long-running study reaches worrying conclusions

Doctors started the study in 1994, and it involved 657 Russian men between the ages of 25 and 64 years old. None of the subjects had previously suffered a heart attack or a stroke, nor did they suffer from diabetes.

During the study, the subjects’ sleep quality was rated on the Jenkins Sleep Scale, and they were monitored for heart attacks. Results show that 63% of those who suffered a heart attack also had a sleep disorder.

The study concluded that those who had trouble sleeping were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, and 1.5-4 times more likely to have a stroke than those who slept normally.

Mortality rates for heart attacks are high, and the link to a lack of sleep is worrying. An estimated 50% of deaths around the world are caused by heart attacks, and it is the leading cause of death in a large number of countries, including the United States.

Taking precautions to avoid suffering a heart attack is very important, and now it appears that sleeping well is just as beneficial as regular exercise, not smoking, eating healthily and staying in shape.