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Heart-Related Dangers of Being Short on Sleep

Posted May 20 2013 10:07pm
Posted on May 17, 2013, 6 a.m. in Sleep

While previous studies show a link between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and obesity, the reasons why sleep loss might lead to these effects has been unclear. Keith Pugh, from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), and colleagues assessed the effects of partial sleep deprivation on blood vessels and breathing control. Their results suggest that reducing sleep length over two consecutive nights leads to less healthy vascular function and impaired breathing control. The study authors submit that: “These results suggest that acute sleep restriction affects both respiratory and vascular control … partial sleep deprivation can be a precursor to conditions such as sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease.”

K. Pugh, S. Taheri, G. Balanos. “The effect of sleep restriction on the respiratory and vascular control” [Abstract B502 930.25].  Presentation at Experimental Biology 2013 (American Physiological Society),  22 April 2013.

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Tip #164 - Calcium Combats Common Killers
University of Tsukuba (Japan) researchers followed 41,526 Japanese men and women (ages 40 to 59 at the study’s start) for a period of 13 years. The team found that those men and women who consumed the highest calcium from all dietary sources lowered their risk of stroke by 30%.

A team from the University of Navarra (Spain) studied a group of 2,290 elderly men and women at high cardiovascular risk, assessing dietary intakes and measuring blood pressure for a 12-month period. The researchers found that systolic and diastolic blood pressures of those with the highest average level of low-fat dairy intake (631 grams per day) were 4.2 and 1.8 mmHg lower than that of study subjects with the lowest average intakes (3.1 grams per day). The team posits that calcium, which is found in significant levels in low-fat dairy, may inhibit the constriction of vascular smooth muscle cell, while also improving the sodium-potassium balance.

The US nutritional guidelines recommend that adults ages 19-50 years consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium-rich foods to enjoy include:
• Milk (1 cup), 296 mg
• Collard greens (boiled, 1 cup), 266 mg
• Spinach (boiled, 1 cup), 245 mg
• Almonds (1 ounce), 75 mg
• Orange (1 medium), 52 mg

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