Monday, February 14, 2011

Major study finds sleep deprivation increases stroke and heart disease risk


For immediate use

Email campaign launched to ban night flights at Heathrow

The week after a major new study linked chronic sleep shortage to increased risk of heart disease and strokes, HACAN has launched an email campaign to persuade MPs to back its call for a ban on night flights at Heathrow before 6am. Residents can email their MP and MEPs via the HACAN website:

The new study, released last week by Warwick University , is one of the biggest-ever into the effects of sleep deprivation. It is based on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people across eight countries. Chronic short sleep produce hormones and chemicals in the body, which increases the risk of developing heart disease, strokes and other conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, according to Dr Michelle Miller of the University of Warwick.

She and Professor Francesco Cappuccio, who co-authored the report published in the European Heart Journal, followed up evidence spanning seven to 25 years from more than 470,000 participants across eight countries, including Japan , the US , Sweden and the UK .

Professor Francesco Cappuccio said: "If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke."

HACAN Chair John Stewart, “The evidence is overwhelming. Sleep disturbance damages our health. We are calling on people to back our email campaign to end night flights at Heathrow before 6am”.

Last month HACAN published a study from consultants CE Delft which found that sleep disturbance at Heathrow was costing the country so much money in terms of poor health, early death and low productivity at work that it would almost certainly help the economy if flights were banned before 6am.

The current agreement with airlines on night flights at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick comes to an end in Autumn 2012. The Government is expected to start consulting on a new agreement later this year.


For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Press Release dated 14/2/11