HealthDay News — A healthy sleep pattern is associated with reduced risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the European Heart Journal.

Mengyu Fan, from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues analyzed data from 385,292 participants in the U.K. Biobank. The analysis included participants who were initially free of CVD. A healthy sleep score was calculated based on five sleep factors. The authors assessed the combined association between sleep behaviors and genetic susceptibility and incidence of CVD.

The researchers found that during a median 8.5 years of follow-up, there were 7,280 incident CVD cases, including 4,667 coronary heart disease cases and 2,650 stroke cases. Participants with a score of 5 had a 35 percent reduced risk for CVD, a 34 percent reduced risk for CHD, and a 34 percent reduced risk for stroke, all compared with participants with a sleep score of 0 to 1. Roughly 10 percent of cardiovascular events could be attributed to poor sleep patterns. The highest risks for CHD and stroke were seen among participants with poor sleep patterns and a high genetic risk.

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“We found that a high genetic risk could be partly offset by a healthy sleep pattern,” a coauthor said in a statement. “In addition, we found that people with a low genetic risk could lose this inherent protection if they had a poor sleep pattern.”

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