A healthy lifestyle composed of regular exercise, good dietary habits, moderate alcohol consumption, and cigarette abstinence may help protect you from cardiovascular disease (CVD). But a recent study featured on Science Daily reports that you may lower your risk even further by getting enough sleep.

Researchers surveyed 6,672 men and 7,967 women about their physical activity, diet, alcohol intake, smoking habits, and sleeping behavior from 1993 and 1997. The participants, whose ages ranged from 20-65, were then followed up for 12 years through national hospital and mortality registers.

The researchers found out that although the four aforementioned factors lessened the risk of fatal and non-fatal CVD by 57 percent and fatal events by 67 percent, having a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night magnified these benefits, resulting in a 65 percent lower risk of fatal and non-fatal CVD and an 83 percent lower risk of fatal events.

"If all participants adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors, 36 percent of composite CVD and 57 percent of fatal CVD could theoretically be prevented or postponed,” the authors explain. “The public health impact of sufficient sleep duration, in addition to traditional healthy lifestyle factors, could be substantial."

Photo by AgustinBrtz via Flickr Creative Commons)

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