Get More Sleep to Ward off Strokes

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • I'm officially back! I'm no longer a zombie. My six-month-old daughter is sleeping all night, which means so is mommy. This trend began a couple of weeks ago and is still going strong. In turn, my days at work are more enjoyable and more productive. I'm not yawning all day and yes, I hate to say it, I'm not falling asleep at my desk (that was embarrassing). I'm finally getting my 7 to 8 hours of straight sleep. But for those who don't get good sleep (and don't have a baby to blame), it could mean trouble ahead.


    According to a report presented by researchers at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2008, daytime dozing can forewarn of an increased risk of a stroke among the elderly. In fact, stroke risk was two to four-fold greater in those with moderate dozing. Doctors say this suggests that daytime dozing may be an important risk factor for stroke.

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    Dozing refers to a person unintentionally falling asleep. Among 2,153 participants in a prospective study with an average follow up of 2.3 years, the risk of stroke was 2.6 times greater for those classified as doing "some dozing" compared to those with "no dozing." Those in the "significant dozing" group had a 4.5 times higher risk.


    But doctors say daytime dozing isn't the problem, it could just indicate a problem, like nighttime sleep disturbances including sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing stops briefly during sleep. It's usually caused by an obstruction of tissue. Sleep scientists previously have found evidence that people who experience apnea have an increased risk of stroke.


    I'm not a nap taker, but I'm not against them either. And people shouldn't worry about taking naps because napping isn't bad and isn't the risk. The risk is poor sleep. So if you have a problem sleeping, talk to your doctor and make sure it's not a sign of a bigger problem. Plus, find out how to at least get better sleep. Because believe me, you can't put a price on great sleep.


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Published On: April 10, 2008