It's no secret that most of us don't get enough sleep. It can negatively affect our health in a lot of ways, but a study last year made more of a link between a lack of sleep and heart disease. In 2008, University of Chicago researchers showed that not getting enough sleep may lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Twenty-seven percent of the study participants getting less than five hours of sleep per night had plaque in their heart vessels, which only 11 percent of people sleeping five to seven hours and six percent sleeping more than seven hours did.
One theory is that a lack of sleep raises levels of a hormone called cortisol, which leads to inflammation and causes plaques to break apart, travel to the heart or brain and cause a stroke or heart attack. So grab a pillow and make sleep a priority.