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Sleep: How much do you need?

Getting too little sleep may increase your likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of conditions such as abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance, which boosts your risk for coronary heart disease. But so does getting too much shut-eye, say researchers in the journal Sleep. They examined more than 1,200 adults, ages 30 to 54, and found that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night or more than eight hours hiked risk for metabolic syndrome by 45 percent compared with those who snoozed an average of seven to eight hours a night. Eight percent of participants got more than eight hours’ sleep, while those who were short on slumber accounted for 20 percent. During sleep, important hormones are secreted, blood pressure lowers, kidney functions change and memory is consolidated, says the National Sleep Foundation.