Heart disease may be losing ground to cancer as America’s top killer. But don’t think for a second that this makes it any less lethal.
By the numbers, heart disease is still the country’s leading cause of death, which is reason enough not to let your vigilance lapse. But new research shows how just one common mistake could compound the threat dramatically…
A deadly domino effect
As part of a recent study, researchers examined data from more than 1,500 participants from the Penn State Adult Cohort, ranging from 20- to 74-years-old.
More than half the subjects were women, and all fell into one of two categories:
- Subjects with hypertension and diabetes
- Subjects with heart disease and stroke
Researchers studied participants in a sleep laboratory, and then followed them for the next two decades to determine cause of death.
Over the study period, just over 500 subjects passed away—a third from heart disease or stroke, and a quarter from cancer. Which is about what you might expect from an American cohort.
But here’s where things get interesting: Subjects with high blood pressure or diabetes faced double the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke… specifically if they slept fewer than six hours per night. But they were no more likely to suffer an early death if they slept more than six hours a night.
And the people who started the study with heart disease or stroke? Well, they faced triple the risk of dying from cancer… again, if they slept fewer than six hours per night.
Now admittedly, there are some limitations here. For one thing, researchers only observed one night of sleep. (And the first night of sleep in a laboratory is notoriously poor for obvious reasons.)
But if the trend they observed is even half as powerful, it should send card-carrying night owls running for the covers.
Make America sleepy again
Nearly half the U.S. population has either high blood pressure or diabetes at this point. And some 15 percent have heart disease or stroke risk. So to say that these findings are relevant is putting it mildly.
Because the fact is, we don’t take proper sleep as seriously as we should. Televisions are practically standard in today’s modern bedroom. And most Americans are glued to their phones and other devices up until the moment they turn out the lights.
Throw in our national aversion to regular exercise and our abysmal standard American eating habits, and it’s no wonder that sleep deprivation is practically endemic.
Based on their findings, researchers hope to see sleep consultations become a more standard part of healthcare. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more. But all I can say is, good luck with that.
When your average doctor can’t even take five minutes to discuss their patient’s diet, why would you expect them to perform a full sleep evaluation? After all, how often does your doctor ask you how you’re sleeping every night?
If the answer is never, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. But that’s one of the main reasons I designed my Perfect Sleep Protocol—which offers an effective, drug-free, step-by-step plan for a better night’s sleep, starting tonight.
“Sleeping less than 6 hours and heart disease, stroke—deadly combo.” Science Daily, 10/02/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191002075944.htm)