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Study finds long nappers, sleepers at higher risk for stroke

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Wuhan, China — Do you regularly nap for extended periods or sleep longer than most people? If so, you may be at increased risk for stroke, say researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Analyzing data from nearly 32,000 participants in the Dongfeng-Tongji cohort study, the researchers found that people who regularly napped 90 minutes or more or slept for longer than nine hours a night were nearly 25% more likely to suffer a stroke than people who slept seven to eight hours or who napped for 30 minutes or less.

Additionally, poor sleep quality was associated with a 29% greater risk of having a stroke, a 28% higher chance of experiencing an ischemic stroke and a 56% increased risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.

The results were adjusted for factors that could increase the risk for stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, according to a Dec. 11 press release from the American Academy of Neurology.

“More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke,” researcher Xiaomin Zhang said in the release, “but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke. In addition, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke.”

The study was published online Dec. 11 in the journal Neurology.

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