The optimal recommended sleep time for adults is 7-9 hours each night. In the last 50 years, sleep duration has decreased by 1.5 to 2 hours per person each night.

Shortened sleep cycles, defined as less than 6 hours per night, are not the only culprits though. Prolonged sleep (more than 9 hours each night) can also adversely affect your overall health. As with most things in life when it comes to a good healthy rest period, there is a healthy sweet spot.

The Association Between Lack of Sleep and Heart Disease

Although too much or too little sleep doesn’t directly affect it certainly increased the risk factors associated with it.

One link is an increased risk of high blood pressure, potentially causing heart disease, according to a 2011 study of the American Heart Association.

Shortened sleep has been shown to increase a C-reactive protein called CRP in the bloodstream, which is released with stress and inflammation. High CRP is a risk factor for cardiovascular and heart disease.

In 2008, one University of Chicago study found a link between increased coronary artery calcification and shortened sleep. Researcher, Diane Lauderdale, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the university’s Pritzker School of Medicine says this is “a good predictor of subsequent coronary artery disease.”1

Lauderdale’s studies also show that shorter sleep can lead to hypertension. In a healthy sleep cycle, high blood pressure drops at night. It seems that with less sleep, perhaps there is not a long enough period of time for the complete dip to take place.

Although the link is not as definitive, excessive sleep also has shown to be correlated with calcium buildup in the heart artery walls and stiffer leg arteries.2

Women Have a Greater Risk for Heart Disease than Men

A study at Warwick Medical School in England found that out of the 4,600 participants (73% Men) short sleep cycles adversely affected women’s cardiovascular health much differently than the men’s. With 5 hours of sleep or fewer each night, “women showed an increase in inflammatory markers known as high-sensitivity C-reactive proteins, commonly associated with cardiovascular disease.3

Dr. Saverio Stranges, Associate Professor, in a study of 3,027 participants (43.5% male and 56.6% female) showed a 66% higher prevalence of hypertension among women sleeping less than 6 hours per night and that the effect more than doubled in premenopausal women.4

How to Get Better Quality Sleep to Reduce my Risk

There are many great resources out there for tips on how to get better sleep – following are a few links with good information. Also, make sure to check out BHR’s blog to learn more about sleep and its effects on the body.

Brain Health Restoration offers Magnetic e-Resonancy Therapy (MeRT℠), a fully customized treatment protocol with an expected benefit of better sleep. For more information, please contact us here

1Boufis, Christine. “How Your Sleep Affects Your Heart.”  WebMD, WebMD.

2Harvard Health Publishing. “A Good Night’s Sleep: Advice to Take to Heart.” Harvard Health, Sept. 2017,

3“Sleep and Heart Disease: Are You at Risk?” SleepFoundation.Org, National Sleep Foundation.

4“Lack of Sleep Could be More Dangerous for Women than Men.”, Medical Express.  1 July 2009,