Lack of Sleep Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke, And Some Tips to have a Good Night’s Sleep

By Lisa Franchi on June 26, 2012

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common conditions often ignored by many people, especially in the working population. When there’s a deadline to meet, it’s easy to drink several cups of coffee to boost your stamina over the night and wake up early for the next day’s report. During weekends, it can be tempting to stay out late with friends. But habitual lack of sleep can be very dangerous in so many ways. In a new study, experts found that it can also increase the risk of stroke, even to young adults who have normal weight.

Sleep Deprivation and Stroke

In a three-year study, a group of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham followed more than 5,000 middle aged and older people. They looked for any signs of stroke which includes difficulty in walking, speaking, or understanding. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants showed high risk to stroke. They also had low risk of obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition wherein the airways become completely or partially blocked during sleep. Previous studies have linked sleep apnoea with stroke.

Despite the absence of major factors, participants who had normal weight but slept less than 6 hours every night showed an increased risk to stroke. This was not seen to people who were overweight but slept 6 hours or more.

The researchers suggest that sleep deprivation may also be a precursor to some other risk factors of stroke like obesity and elevated blood pressure. Past studies have also linked sleep deprivation to depression and memory problems.

How to Get a Good Night Sleep

Having problems falling to sleep at night? Here are simple tips that can help you:

·         Take a warm shower before going to bed. You want to feel clean, refreshed, and comfortable before lying on bed. Don’t stay too long in the shower, or else, you’ll feel exhausted instead of feeling refreshed.

·        Have some power nap. Studies show that sleeping in mid day for at least an hour improves mental health.

·      Get a massage. Ask your spouse to give you a massage before going to sleep. Massage improves blood circulation which helps your body become more relaxed, ready for sleep.

·      Drink a glass of warm milk. Drinking milk 15 minutes before sleeping soothes your nervous system. It also delivers sufficient calcium in your body which helps relax muscles.

·      See a doctor. There are several sleeping disorders that can negatively affect your life and health. Sleep apnoea for instance can be lethal if not given immediate medical attention. 

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