It is known that sleeping less than seven hours is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
In a new study, researchers found that extending sleep in people who cannot get enough sleep may help lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The research was led by a team from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
In the study, the team reviewed seven studies that aimed to increase sleep duration in adults by any sleep extension intervention.
These studies had a combined number of 138 participants who were either healthy, healthy short-sleeping, overweight short-sleeping, or people with pre- or high blood pressure and sleep loss.
The duration of the sleep extension ranged from three days to six weeks and all successfully increased total sleep time by between 21 and 177 minutes.
The team found that sleep extension was linked to better insulin sensitivity and decrease in appetite, desire for sweet and salty foods, sugar intake, and daily caloric intake from protein.
The team says that there are few studies have explored whether extending sleep duration can lower cardiometabolic risk.
The current review highlights the need for such studies and provides direction for future study designs.
They believe poor sleep quality is an important risk factor for many chronic diseases and can harm heart health and metabolic functions.
Future work is needed to test how better sleep quality could help people reduce these disease risks.
The lead author of the study is Rob Henst, a Ph.D. candidate.
The study is published in The Journal of Sleep Research.
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