In fact, the study suggests, sleep is as an important contributor to a health body as exercise, healthy diets, moderate alcohol consumption and the avoidance of smoking tobacco.
This finding, according to the Sleep Research Society
, comes from a study which reviewed the lives of different people over a long time period. The review was carried out in the Netherlands. The project was titled Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN).
This follows on from an earlier Digital Journal report
which revealed that getting additional sleep could help to reduce a person's risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.
For the review, 6,672 men and 7,967 women aged 20 years were studied. The participants were assessed as being free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at the start of the study. The participants were followed up for a period of 12 years and various tests were undertaken.
Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57 percent lower risk of CVD and a 67 per cent reduction in the risk of fatal events. Interestingly, when sufficient sleep of seven or more hours per night was added to these factors, the CVD risk reduction rose to 65 percent, while mortality rates dropped by 83 percent.
According to Medical News
, short sleep duration has been associated with a higher incidence of overweight, obesity and hypertension and with higher levels of blood pressure, total cholesterol, haemoglobin A, and triglycerides.
Commenting on the findings, lead investigator Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands is quoted by the Toronto Sun
as saying: "It is always important to confirm results, but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of cardiovascular disease risk factors."
The findings have been published
in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in a paper titled “Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study.”