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Poor sleep linked to arterial buildup

An ongoing lack of sleep may lead to more fatty buildup in the arteries, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers measured the sleep quality of 3,974 people with no history of heart disease.

Participants wore a sleep monitor for seven days and were then categorized based how much they slept: short sleep (six to seven hours a night), reference sleep (seven to eight hours a night) and long sleep (more than eight hours a night). Study authors also looked at how fragmented participants' sleep was throughout the nights. They then compared those findings to measures of arterial buildup in the heart and other parts of the body.

Short sleepers had a higher amount of arterial buildup throughout the body, compared with the reference group. People with the most fragmented sleep were more likely to have arterial buildup in multiple different areas of the body outside the heart. However, researchers didn't find any differences among the sleep groups when it came to coronary artery buildup.

Even so, the findings should give you another reason to aim for a good night's sleep.

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