I’m writing this post shortly after the news broke about a University of Alabama study led by Meagan Reuter (Postdoctoral Fellow with a Speciality in Sleep and Health Outcomes Research) regarding the link between elevated stroke risk and lack of sleep. Try as I might (and this might change in the next day or two) I couldn’t get a copy of the actual study, but I read all about it in several different publications on the web. There must be a news aggregator at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Associated Sleep Professionals Society in Boston (APSS – June 9-13), and that feed is now everywhere – all with essentially the same story. The bottom line to the research is this:
- The study was of 5,666 middle age (45+) and older adults with normal height/weight distributions.
- The experiment ran for three years.
- Patients had no history of stroke or TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks).
- Low risk (I don’t know how this was determined) of obstructive sleep apnea in the group.
- People in this study that got less than six hours of sleep per night (on average) showed a significantly higher number of stroke symptoms – 450% higher is a number that I’ve seen. That’s huge!!
- This is interesting – adults that were overweight or obese (higher than normal BMIs) showed no correlation between sleeping less than six hours a night and stroke.
- It was based on a survey that was self reported – both sleep times and stroke symptoms.
- They reported every 6 months – that’s a very long time to remember every night!
- Regardless, the conclusions they reached may be statistically valid. The results were so lop-sided that it’s hard to ignore.