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Less than six hours sleep per night increases risk for heart disease

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Six hours: That’s the minimum amount of sleep per night you need to help your heart stay healthy, new research suggests.

The study found that chronic lack of sleep and poor sleep quality raise the odds of fatty plaque accumulation in arteries — a condition known as atherosclerosis, which increases the odds of heart attack and stroke.

There are many ways to fight heart disease, including “pharmaceuticals, physical activity and diet,” said lead researcher Jose Ordovas. “But this study emphasizes we have to include sleep as one of the weapons we use to fight heart disease — a factor we are compromising every day.”

Ordovas is an investigator at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research in Madrid, Spain.

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