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Insomnia Sufferers More Likely to Suffer a Stroke, Study Finds

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It’s well known that a good night’s sleep is good for our health. A new Taiwanese study emphasizes this fact by pointing to insomnia, which reportedly leaves sufferers more susceptible to stroke.

The study, which has been published in the American Heart Association’s medical journal Stroke, is the work of two of Taiwan’s top medical institutions. It involved examining 64,000 people over a four-year period. The study’s most significant finding: adults who suffer from insomnia are 54 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than people who do not suffer from the sleep disorder.

Insomnia is a widespread problem. It’s estimated that roughly 30 per cent of the United States population suffers from the disorder, which can be caused by a number of factors including stress, use of psychoactive drugs, pain, mental disorders, or various medical conditions (like hyperthyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis). Certain behaviours, like watching television or using a computer in bed right before attempting sleep, can also result in insomnia.

The Taiwanese study says that people suffering from short bouts of insomnia (lasting a few days or weeks) are less at risk of stroke than people dealing with a prolonged struggle with the sleep disorder.

Insomnia affects people of all ages but is most visible among older people — the group most susceptible to stroke. But the Taiwanese study shows that even young people — or individuals in their 20s and 30s — can suffer a stroke after dealing with long-term insomnia issues.

“We feel strongly that individuals with chronic insomnia, particularly younger persons, see their physician to have stroke risk factors assessed and, when indicated, treated appropriately,” noted Ya-Wed Hsu, one of the study’s researchers.

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