Can Too Much Sleep Damage Your Arteries?

Can Too Much Sleep Damage Your Arteries?

Sleep can better your mood and your brain health, if you’re doing it right – but not all sleep is created equal.

New research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2018 in Munich, Germany, says there’s a connection between sleeping less than six hours or waking up several times a night, and hardening arteries.

The study documented sleep quality and quantity of 3,974 healthy, middle-aged adults for seven days with ultrasound technology that assess each participant’s leg and neck arteries. They divided the study’s participants into five groups based on sleep time.


Researchers found that very short sleepers had significantly more atherosclerosis, or artery hardening, than those who got seven to eight hours.

Related: Which Sleeping Position is Best for a Good Night’s Sleep?

Despite the findings suggesting a link between sleep and artery health, Alan Ackermann, DO, FACC, a TopLine cardiologist practicing in Aventura, Florida, is quick to point out that the research only indicates an association between the two. So while there may be a link, it doesn’t mean specific sleep times are the direct cause of hardening arteries. Furthermore, the type of atherosclerosis reported was not found in any coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

What’s known is that poor sleep can increase the risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes or obesity over time, says Dr. Ackermann, both of which are leading causes to cardiovascular disease. So remember, getting a good night’s sleep is always good for your overall health and wellbeing!

Photo Credit: Nelli Syrotynska/; ALPA PROD/

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