How much we sleep affects our risk of stroke


Stroke is one of the number one causes of death and disability worldwide, and a new study has been published revealing something never before suspected as a factor – excessive sleeping.

If you look at the numbers on strokes across the world, it’s quite scary. 15 million people suffer from strokes every year, with nearly 6 million deaths and 5 million becoming permanently disabled as a result. The risk factors related to stroke are well known, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. Yet only recently have researchers explored how our sleeping habits could be involved.

Assessing sleep as a potential risk factor for stroke, the first studies found that sleep deprivation increased the risk. A group of Chinese researchers then published a study1 assessing the sleeping habits of 31,750 people with no history of stroke, finding that excessive sleeping was also a risk factor for stroke.

According to their findings, those in the habit of sleeping more than 9 hours per night and also taking daytime naps of over 90 minutes were at 85% greater risk of having strokes compared to those with moderate sleeping habits. It seems that, as with most lifestyle risk factors, moderation is the key.

1 Source: Zhou L, Yu K, Yang L, et. Sleep duration, midday napping, and sleep quality and incident stroke. Neurology. DOI: