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'Too much sleep can cause a stroke'

SNOOZE: Those who sleep for more than eight hours a day are more likely to have a stroke

PEOPLE WHO sleep for more than eight hours a day are more likely to have a stroke, research has shown.

A 10-year study of nearly 10,000 people carried out at the University of Cambridge found that those who took eight hours of sleep on average had a 46 per cent higher than average risk of having a stroke - a serious, life-threatening medical condition which happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Adults tend to need between six and nine hours sleep to feel well-rested, but oversleeping has previously been linked with health problems such as diabetes or obesity.

However, it was unclear from this latest study whether sleeping for more than eight hours was actually causing the kind of cardiovascular problems that can lead to stroke, or whether it was an indicator or symptom of underlying conditions.

Researchers began collecting data in 1998 by asking people aged between 42 and 81 how long they slept on an average. Researchers tracked their sleeping habits over 10 years, in which time 346 of the participants suffered a stroke.

Seven out of 10 participants reported sleeping between six and eight hours a day, and one in 10 said they slept for more than eight hours.

The life-threatening conditon is Britain’s third biggest killer, behind heart disease and cancer.

Every year there are more than 150,000 strokes in the UK, and people of African and Caribbean origin are twice as likely to have a stroke than the general UK population.

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