The 'sleep formula' that can slash risk of heart attack and stroke revealed

SLEEPING for six to seven hours a night can slash your risk of a heart attack and stroke, researchers claim.

The new sleep formula from experts in the US states that getting enough shut eye, as well as working on other factors such as diet, smoking habits and exercise, could also play a role in cardiovascular health.

The NHS states that most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.

But the new study states that those who got six to seven hours a night had the lowest chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke when compared with those who got less or more sleep.

Experts at the American College of Cardiology looked at data from 14,079 participants in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The patients were then tracked for seven and a half years to determine if they died due to heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

The experts then applied the sleep formula to garner the patients' risk of disease.

For this they looked at their average length of sleep (totalling seven hours).

They also then assessed participants' atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

CRP is a key inflammatory marker known to be associated with heart disease.

By using the ASCVD risk score the experts are able to calculcate the risk of heart attack or stroke.

This is because the score looks as age, gender, race, blood pressure and cholesterol.

If the score is less than five per cent then you would be considered as low risk.

Ten top tips to make bedtime happy and healthy

Nutritionist and male hormonal health expert, Bertie Stringer, CEO and cofounder of DNA gives his top tips of how to get a good nights’ sleep.

  1. Take time to relax – More than half of the UK population has not surprisingly suffered from stress-induced sleep problems since the pandemic. Take a little time for yourself whether it’s taking a bath, writing a journal or chatting to a friend and try to free your mind from today’s worries.
  1. Find a routine and stick to it – Optimal sleep is 7 to 9 hours per night. Use a sleep calculator to find a bedtime routine that works for your age and lifestyle
  1. Have an orgasm! – This releases a wonderful cocktail of natural endorphins which help you relax and help your body get into a flow of REM sleep cycles to help you stay asleep which is also when T levels are replenished – winner!
  1. Ditch the booze – Not only does this reduce testosterone levels, it also impacts sexual performance leading to greater chances of erectile dysfunction. Not to mention causing disrupted sleep which again in turns reduces the restoration of T levels overnight. 
  1. Remove distractions – Get rid of excess noise and light so that your room is quiet, calm, for sleep or dim the lights, light the candles, pop on some Barry White and let the good times begin.
  1. Rectify nutrient deficiencies – Vitamins in particular play a role in regulating our circadian rhythms, the 24-hour bio rhythms that control our sleep-wake cycles. As deficiencies are common most GP’s will now test key nutrient levels and you can then supplement and / adjust your diet accordingly. Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc and B6 are all crucial for happy  male hormones. 
  1. Lose weight  – Losing just 5 percent of your starting weight can result in improved length of sleep and sleep quality (also extra fat produces oestrogen in men which robs testosterone levels)
  1. Be active– Spending some of your active time outdoors, seems to help protect against sleep problems (also tops up natural Vitamin D levels)
  1. Avoid eating close to bedtime and keep snacks out of the bedroom!– Eating late at night can affect your quality of sleep and put you at higher risk of developing diabetes and obesity. It’s also a passion killer sitting in bed whilst your other half wolves down a family size bag of Doritos….
  1. Minimise blue and artificial lights – Light from mobiles and laptops can suppress melatonin and can make it harder to fall asleep. Ditch them at least an hour before Z time…

Those who participated in the study had a median risk of 3.5 per cent.

The researchers highlighted that there was a U-shape bend in the data based on sleep duration with participants with six to seven hours sleep being at the lowest risk.

It found that the median 10-year risk among those with less than six, six to seven or more than seven hours of sleep was 4.6 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

Lead author of the study Kartik Gupta, MD, resident, Division of Internal Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit said sleep is often overlooked as something that may play a role in cardiovascular disease, and it may be among the most cost-effective ways to lower cardiovascular risk.

He said: "Based on our data, sleeping six to seven hours a night is associated with more favorable heart health.

"Participants who slept less than six hours or more than seven hours had a higher chance of death due to cardiac causes. ASCVD risk score was, however, the same in those who sleep six to seven hours versus more than seven hours."

He added that the damage caused to heart health through sleep may "take time to materialise".

The researchers said that sleep should be asked about in routine medical checkups – as well as questions on diet and exercise.

Gupta added: "It's important to talk about not only the amount of sleep but the depth and quality of sleep too. Just because you are lying in bed for seven hours doesn't mean that you are getting good quality sleep."

The results from the US study comes after the NHS revealed a new heart check that could asses heart disease in minutes.

The innovation, named HeartFlow, will be used on more than 100,000 patients.

By turning a regular CT scan into a 3D image, experts will be able to diagnose life-threatening coronary heart disease in just twenty minutes.

The new technology is being rolled out as part of the NHS's Long Term Plan to reduce he number of heart attacks and strokes by 150,000.

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