DVR the Late Show and go to bed. For, apparently, the health of your heart depends on the quality of sleep you receive. Read today’s excerpted research. Hopefully, it’ll put you to sleep!

A 2011 European Heart Journal review of 15 medical studies involving almost 475,000 people found that short sleepers had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) in a seven to 25-year follow-up period (depending on the study) and a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from stroke during this same time. Interestingly, long sleepers — those who averaged nine or more hours a night — also showed a 38% increased risk of developing or dying from CHD and a 65% increased risk of stroke.

Researchers caution that the mechanisms behind shortened and prolonged sleep and heart disease aren’t completely understood. “Lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily cause heart disease,” says Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It really increases the risk factors for heart disease.”

One 2008 study from the University of Chicago found a link between shortened sleep and increased coronary artery calcification (calcium deposits), “a good predictor of subsequent coronary artery disease,” says researcher Diane Lauderdale, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the university’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

Lauderdale’s study also revealed that shorter sleep predicted worsening hypertension (high blood pressure). “For most people, blood pressure falls at night,” she says, “so it could be that with shorter sleep it’s just not enough for that dip to take place.”

Source:” How Your Sleep Affects Your Heart Not enough zzz’s? Too many? Both can affect your cardiac health.” By Christina Boufis.