There is evidence to suggest that inadequate sleep, less than 6 hours per night, can increase a persons risk of developing heart disease and/or suffering a stroke (Cappuccio, Cooper, D'Elia, Strazzullo & Miller, 2011). Moreover, short duration of sleep increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and stroke (Cappuccio, Cooper, D'Elia, Strazzullo & Miller, 2011).
In a recent review examining the relationship between duration of sleep, morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease, stroke and total cardiovascualr disease, researchers from the University of Warwick, evaluated 15 reports covering 474,684 male and female subjects who were followed for 7 to 25 years (Cappuccio, Cooper, D'Elia, Strazzullo & Miller, 2011). During follow-up, it was found that a total of 16,067 cardiovascular events including strokes and coronary disease had unfolded. The correlating factor, less than 6 hours of sleep per night, meant that individuals employing short sleep duration had a 48 percent higher risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease, and a 15 percent higher risk of stroke. In contrast, participants regularly engaging in excessive sleep duration, 10 hours or more, had a 38 percent higher risk of coronary disease or death and a 65 percent higher risk of stroke. Nonetheless, the results of this study indicate that less than 6 hours of sleep per night is a more prevalent concern, and for this reason, associated with a greater degree of risk.
Cappuccio, F.P., Cooper, D., D'Elia, L., Strazzullo, P. & Miller, M.A. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Heart Journal, 12, 1484-1492.