Scary truth about getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night

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Baku, October 27, AZERTAC

People who get less than six hours of sleep a night may be more likely to have risk factors that increase their odds of diabetes, heart disease and strokes, a Korean study suggests, according to the Huffington Post.

This combination of risk factors - including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, extra fat around the midsection, high blood pressure and excess amounts of fats in the blood - is known as metabolic syndrome.

“The 'short' sleepers should be aware of the risks of developing metabolic syndrome, which could lead them to suffer from life threatening and chronic diseases,” lead author Dr. Jang Young Kim of Yonsei University in South Korea said by email.

Kim’s team followed about 2,600 adults for more than two years and found that participants who didn’t get at least six hours of sleep a night were 41 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than individuals who got six to eight hours of shuteye.

The findings are drawn from two lifestyle surveys that included questions about sleep habits. The surveys were administered once between 2005 and 2008 and again sometime between 2008 and 2011. Study participants also underwent medical exams and shared their medical history.

After an average follow-up of 2.6 years, about 560 people in the study, or 22 percent of participants, developed metabolic syndrome, according to the results in the journal Sleep.

Short sleep duration was linked to about 30 percent increased risk of high blood sugar and excess belly fat, as well as 56 percent higher odds of hypertension, compared to those who slept longer.

One shortcoming of the study is its reliance on participants to accurately recall and report on their sleep habits, medical conditions and lifestyle behaviors, the authors acknowledge. It also lacked data on the quality of sleep.

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