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How long a person sleeps, as a factor itself or in combination with physical activity, a healthy diet, limited alcohol intake, and no smoking, may significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

W. M. Monique Verschuren, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (The Netherlands), and colleagues analyzed data collected in the MORGEN study, a prospective cohort study involving 8,128 men and 9,759 women, ages 20—65 years, who did not have cardiovascular disease at the study's start. The team found that subjects who adhered to a regimen of sufficient physical activity, a healthy diet, limited alcohol intake, and no smoking were at 57 percent reduced risk of a composite of CVD, and a 67 percent reduced risk of fatal CVD, compared with those who adhered to none or one lifestyle factor. When a good night's sleep (more than 7 hours) was added to those traditional factors, the risk of CVD and of fatal CVD decreased even further—65 percent and 83 percent, respectively, the team observed that achieving sufficient sleep duration without any of the four traditional lifestyle factors had a positive impact on risk reduction—22 percent reduced risk of CVD and 43 percent reduction in fatal CVD. Writing that: "Sufficient sleep and adherence to all four traditional healthy lifestyle factors was associated with lower [cardiovascular disease] risk," the study authors conclude that: "When sufficient sleep duration was added to the traditional lifestyle factors, the risk of [cardiovascular disease] as further reduced."


  1. Hoevenaar-Blom MP, Spijkerman AM, Kromhout D, Verschuren WM. "Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study." Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Jul 3.