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Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t help your heart: study

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University Park, PA — Using weekends to catch up on the sleep you didn’t get during the workweek isn’t a heart-healthy strategy, a new study claims.

“Only 65% of adults in the United States regularly sleep the recommended seven hours per night, and there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that this lack of sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease in the long term,” Anne-Marie Chang, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University, said in a press release.

Chang and a team of researchers examined the heart rate and blood pressure of 15 healthy men ages 20-35 during an 11-day inpatient sleep study.

Participants were allowed to sleep up to 10 hours a night during the first three nights, then slept five hours a night over the next five. Two recovery nights – during which they again were allowed to sleep as much as 10 hours – followed.

Findings show that the participants’ heart rates and blood pressure increased after each successive day of the study. And despite being given time to recover, at the end of the recovery period the participants’ average baseline heart rate had climbed to nearly 78 beats per minute from 69. The average baseline systolic blood pressure rose to 119.5 millimeters of mercury from 116 mmHg. 

“Enough successive hits to your cardiovascular health while you’re young could make your heart more prone to cardiovascular disease in the future,” Chang said in the release. “As we learn more and more about the importance of sleep, and how it impacts everything in our lives, my hope is that it will become more of a focus for improving one’s health.”

The study was published online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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