People who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease, according to a large British study released Monday. A 17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleep from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk of death from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.
The findings highlight a danger in busy modern lifestyles, Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick's medical school, told the annual conference of the British Sleep Society in Cambridge. "A third of the population of the UK and over 40 percent in the US regularly sleep less than five hours a night, so it is not a trivial problem," he told reporters. "The current pressures in society to cut out sleep, in order to squeeze in more, may not be a good idea - particularly if you go below five hours."