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Getting enough sleepGetting too little or too much sleep can be detrimental for our hearts. New data reveals that adults who get less than six hours of sleep a night are at considerably greater risk of stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. Also, adults who sleep more than eight hours a night have a higher prevalence of heart problems such as chest pain (angina) and coronary artery disease, according to research presented March 25, 2012, at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session.

Researchers say that this is the first example to find an association between sleep duration and hearthealth. Researchers studied approximately 3,019 patients 45 years or older, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Results showed that people getting too little sleep were twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack and 1.6 times more likely to have congestive heart failure. Patients getting more than eight hours of sleep a night were twice as likely to have angina and 1.1 times more likely to have coronary artery disease.

As quoted by the American College of Cardiology "We now have an indication that sleep can impact hearthealth, and it should be a priority," said Rohit R. Arora, MD, FACC, chairman of cardiology and professor of medicine at the Chicago Medical School, and the study's principal investigator. "Based on these findings, it seems getting six to eight hours of sleep every day probably confers the least risk for cardiovascular disease over the long term."

Caridovascular disease, also known as heart disease, causes more deaths among Americans than any other disease. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented with lifestyle choices. Knowing the risk factors associated with heart disease is important in reducing the chances of getting it.