Countless articles have warned us about the health dangers of not getting a good night’s sleep: weight gain, irritability, even heart disease… the list goes on and on. What you may not know is that sleep deprivation may be connected to a higher risk of stroke. To find out more about the possible connection between stroke risk and lack of time spent on the pillow, we reached out to Dr. Michael Breus, “The Sleep Doctor.” Let’s first address if there is a connection between lack of sleep and stroke risk. When asked, Dr. Breus explains the research that proves the connection between lack of sleep and stroke is real. According to the European Heart Journal, 2011, sleeping less than 6 hours per day increases your likelihood of stroke by 15%.
That’s quite a number, 15%. So, what exactly is the connection between lack of sleep and a higher risk of stroke? Dr. Breus continues to explain, “Sleep deprivation affects hormone balance, cardiovascular health (blood pressure), weight gain (obesity), and blood sugar (diabetes). All high-risk factors for stroke.” Simply put, lack of sleep causes side effects that increase the chances of a stroke. Snoozing at least the recommended amount of sleep decreases not only your risk of stroke but also reduces the unhealthy side effects mentioned by the doctor.
How much sleep is recommended? The recommended “dosage” of sleep is 7-9 hours per night. Let’s put this in perspective: if your stroke chances INCREASE by 15% if you do not get the recommended amount of sleep, wouldn’t it be worth it to DECREASE your risk by 15% by following doctor’s orders? The answer to that question is obvious. There aren’t many of us who dislike sleeping, however, if you are one of the many that have trouble meeting the goal of 7-9 hours of sleep, here are some tips from the “Sleep Doctor” himself:
Step 1: Know Your Bedtime and Stick to One Sleep Schedule
Step 2: Eliminate All Caffeine Starting at 2 PM
Step 3: No Alcohol within 3 Hours of Bedtime
Step 4: Stop Exercising 4 Hours Before Bed
Step 5: Get 15 Minutes of Sunlight every day
The bottom line is the statics are real, and they are scary. In the United States alone, someone suffers a stroke every 30 seconds. Don’t be a statistic. Get some shut-eye, stay healthy and be proactive to reduce your risk of stroke.
If you are a health care professional and have considered TeleStroke services for your hospital, now is the time, don’t sleep on it. Our services can help you address a possible stroke patient when they need it most, that first “Golden Hour”. Plus:
Decrease Door-To-Needle times.
Increase alteplase utilization rates, up to 20%.
Improve patient retention.
Increase regional market share and improve regional reputation.
About the contributor Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He was one of the youngest people to have passed the Board at age 31 and, with a specialty in Sleep Disorders, is one of only 168 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction. Dr. Breus is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and appears regularly on the show (39 times in 8 seasons). Learn more about the “Sleep Doctor” at www.thesleepdoctor.com.