After comparing the self-reported sleep quality of study participants who’d experienced a stroke versus those who had not, researchers found that while poor sleepers who got just five hours of sleep a night were three times more likely to suffer a stroke than participants who slept the recommended seven hours, those who slept nine hours or more were still twice as likely to have a stroke than those seven-hour sleepers.
Participants with sleep apnea — a condition characterized by the obstruction of the upper airways during sleep — were also three times more likely to experience stoke than those without the sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea often experience symptoms like snoring and snorting, which proved to increase the risk of stroke by 91% and 200%, respectively.
Even something as seemingly harmless as napping for more than an hour proved to increase the risk of stroke by a whopping 88% in comparison to those who didn’t nap during the day, or those who took planned, short naps.
While researchers were able to determine that a link exists between poor sleep quality and the increased risk of stroke, they were not able to prove that it was the cause. Instead, some sleep experts theorize that poor sleep contributes to a range of health conditions — like obesity and hypertension — which are related to increased incidence of stroke (per Medical News Today).