A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has discovered an association between poor sleep and plaque buildup in arteries throughout the body, which can cause issues such as strokes and heart attacks.  Chief of Cardiology at LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Frank Smart said he’s hesitant to say the blockages are a result of the poor sleep.

“‘Cause’ is kind of a funny word because it’s more of an association than a cause and effect,” said Smart.

Smart said while it is known that getting enough sleep as well as quality of sleep are important factors, he adds that it’s import to exercise and not be sedentary while awake.

“It helps control your weight, it helps control your blood pressure, and it absolutely, positively reduces the development of blocked arteries,” said Smart.

Smart said in the study, in one subgroup of women who got over 8 hours of sleep, it showed there was an increase in plaque buildup.

“So that tells you that this could be a statistical slip-up as opposed to a cause and effect relationship,” said Smart.