Health & Wellness

People With Metabolic Syndrome Need Their Sleep

If you have this dangerous condition, you need to be getting enough sleep—and 40% of older Canadians have it

By Wendy Haaf


One in five Canadians has metabolic syndrome—among those over 65, the number jumps to two in five, or 40%—and many don’t know it. Metabolic Syndrome Canada has called it “a health crisis hiding in plain sight.” You have it if you have at least three of five heart disease risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol. The good news is that you can manage it with diet and exercise.

But researchers have also found that people who have metabolic syndrome should be getting at least six hours of shut-eye every night. Getting less than that might increase the odds of a heart attack or stroke, according to a report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

When researchers tracked 1,344 men and women who’d spent a night in a sleep lab, they found that those with metabolic syndrome who slept less than six hours a night had twice the incidence of death over the next 16.6 years (on average) due to heart attack or stroke as those who were free of the condition. Survival rates among those who slept six or more hours were similar for those who did and those who didn’t have metabolic syndrome.

Photo: iStock/Ljupco.