2 Secrets to Reducing Your Stroke Risk

2 Secrets to Reducing Your Stroke RiskLooking for motivation to commit to a regular exercise routine and get to bed early? Those two habits could significantly reduce your risk for stroke, finds new research.

"It seems like sufficient sleep and exercise may have a synergistic effect on stroke risk," Daniel Lackland, a spokesman for the American Stroke Association said about the research.

Exercise, along with a healthy diet, has long been known to improve one’s health and reduce the risk of stroke (as well as numerous other health risks). But exercise plays another important role: it primes the body for rest and can make sleep come quicker and be less interrupted, which the researchers note, seems to play a role in reducing the stroke risk.

After looking at data on nearly 300,000 adults, the researchers concluded that there’s a sleep sweet spot—between seven to eight hours a night reduced the risk of stroke by more than 25 percent. And that was compared against people who got less sleep as well as those who got more than 8 hours a night. In fact, the “long sleepers” who spent more than 8 hours a night asleep showed the highest level of stroke risk.

Part of the reason sleep plays such an important role is the work the organs do while we’re resting. Not only does our blood pressure get lower, but major organs—brain, heart, and kidneys, for example—also work less during sleep, giving them much-need downtime to be able to perform properly during the waking hours.

Getting too much sleep, while it might be a goal for many of us, can indicate a less-active lifestyle when awake—if you’ve slept 10 hours, there’s less time in the day for exercise. And while everyone’s entitled to a stay-in-bed day—make them the exception, not the rule. You’ll hopefully live longer, which means, in the long run, you’ll have more of those days to skip out on exercise and stay in bed.

image via pruden2009 

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