HealthDay News — Adult patients who sleep more than eight hours a night may face a higher risk of stroke, results of a study published in Neurology indicate.

“No study has examined change in sleep duration over time and subsequent stroke risk,” noted Yue Leng, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues.

“Understanding this relationship is potentially important for the early detection of stroke, especially in older populations.”

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To analyze the link between sleep duration and stroke incidence, the investigators conducted a prospect study with 9,692 patients aged 42 to 81 years that were stroke-free at baseline. The participants reported sleep duration 1998 to 2000 and 2002 and 2004.

Over the follow-up period, 346 patients had strokes. Those who slept longer than eight hours had a 46 % increased stroke risk, and those who slept less than six hours had an 18% higher risk. But the number in the group reporting less than six hours of sleep a night was too small to call that link statistically solid, added the study authors.

The participants who reported being long sleepers in both of the two surveys faced double the risk of stroke when compared to those who reported average sleep times. Patients whose sleep pattern changed — from sleeping less than six hours a night to more than eight hours a night — had about four times the risk of stroke compared with those who consistently got an average amount of sleep, found the researchers.

“Prolonged sleep might be a useful marker of increased stroke risk in older people, and should be tested further for its utility in clinical practice,” concluded the scientists.


  1. Leng Y et al. Neurology. 2015; doi: 0.1212/WNL.0000000000001371