STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Now let's identify a health problem that sensors might someday detect. It's a coronary problem linked to disrupted sleep. NPR's Patti Neighmond reports.
PATTI NEIGHMOND, BYLINE: It boils down to this - seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night is essential for good health.
DAVID MEYERSON: Sleep quality and duration is so important to our physical and emotional well-being.
NEIGHMOND: Cardiologist David Meyerson is spokesperson for the American Heart Association. The study was published in one of its journals.
MEYERSON: You wouldn't imagine that too little sleep, too much sleep or if you're not sleeping well, it's going to influence your blood vessels so quickly and so early in your life.
NEIGHMOND: But it does, according to this new research from Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in South Korea. People who didn't get enough quality sleep or actually got too much sleep increased their risk of clogged blood vessels. Researchers enlisted more than 47,000 young and middle-aged healthy men and women, average age only about 41. They found those who slept less than five hours a night, those who slept more than nine hours a night and those who had restless sleep all showed the beginning stages of blocked arteries.
MEYERSON: They could show calcium beginning to develop in the coronary arteries. They could show that the blood vessels were beginning to get less reactive and stiffer. And both of those issues speak towards development of disease later on.
NEIGHMOND: Why? We really don't know yet, but there are some very likely culprits.
MEYERSON: Hormones, your metabolism, even inflammation is affected by sleep. All of that goes into our overall health, and there are so many factors that we just don't know yet how the mechanisms really and truly work.
NEIGHMOND: People in the study who slept seven to eight hours had no detectable buildup of calcium or stiffness of their arteries. Meyerson says the findings are profound and speak clearly to the need for health care providers and cardiologists to talk with patients about their sleep habits and let them know how very important it is to have an excellent seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Patti Neighmond, NPR News.
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