"Inadequate sleep is a common problem and a likely source of poor health, including visible signs of disease, such as heart attack," said study co-lead author Chan-Won Kim from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea.
Researchers studied more than 47,000 young and middle-aged adults who completed a sleep questionnaire and had advanced tests to detect early coronary artery lesions and measure arterial stiffness. Early coronary lesions were detected as the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries, an early sign of coronary heart disease. It was found that adults who slept five or fewer hours a day had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours a day. Those who slept nine or more hours a day had more than 70 percent more coronary calcium compared to those who sleep seven hours, the findings showed.
Adults who reported poor sleep quality had more than 20 percent more coronary calcium than those who reported good sleep quality.
"We also observed a similar pattern when we measured arterial stiffness," study co-lead author Yoosoo Chang, associate professor at Kangbuk Samsun Hospital in South Korea, said.
"Adults with poor sleep quality have stiffer arteries than those who sleep seven hours a day or had good sleep quality. Overall, we saw the lowest levels of vascular disease in adults sleeping seven hours a day and reporting good sleep quality," Chang noted.
The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.