A French study, published in the journal Stroke, has reported that sleepiness during waking hours may increase your chances of dying. The study looked at 8269 subjects over the age of 65. Even after adjusting for other risk factors, including age, gender, body mass index and previous cardiovascular disease, subjects who reported excessive day time sleepiness had a 49% increase in relative risk of cardiovascular death, and a 33% increase in the relative risk of overall death.
From the press release: “Based on this study asking patients the simple question of whether they feel sleepy during the day, is a useful way of identifying a subgroup of elderly patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease who require a more thorough follow up,” said Professor Guy DeBacker, from the Division of Cardiology at the University of Gent, Belgium, and former chair of the European Society of Cardiology Joint Prevention Committee.
The authors say it is unclear from the current data as to whether daytime sleepiness is a symptom of underlying cardiovascular disease or whether sleepiness triggers or worsens disease. The researchers say the study provides “hypothesis generating” results and that that further large scale studies are needed in different populations to confirm the data before existing guidelines should be changed.