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But that is easier than it sounds – researchers also found that nine in 10 people do not usually get a good night’s rest. The groundbreaking study discovered that those who slept 7-8 hours a night had a 74 percent lower risk of heart disease or stroke compared with poor sleepers.
Study author Dr Aboubakari Nambiema said: “The low prevalence of good sleepers was expected given our busy, 24/7 lives.
“But given cardiovascular disease is the top cause of death worldwide, greater awareness is needed on the importance of good sleep for a healthy heart.
“The importance should be taught early in life when healthy behaviours become established.
“Minimising night-time noise and stress at work can both help improve sleep.”
The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research followed 7,200 people aged 50 to 75 for up to a decade.
At the start of the study only 10 percent of participants had an “optimal” sleep score, meaning they slept 7-8 hours a night, did not have insomnia, had no excessive day-time sleepiness and no sleep apnoea.
After an average follow-up period of eight years, 275 of those who took part had developed coronary heart disease or had a stroke.
Dr Nambiema added: “Our findings suggest that improving sleep is linked with lower risks of coronary heart disease and stroke.”
The study was presented to this week’s European Society of Cardiology conference in Barcelona.
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