Cholesterol can lead to serious health issues like strokes, heart attack, and heart disease. A new study suggests that sleep and cholesterol are directly correlated–not just dieting and exercise.

Sleep and Cholesterol

Generally, the key reasons for high cholesterol are because of eating unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, and genetics. However, researchers recently found that getting too little sleep or too much can raise your cholesterol levels.

In the study, researchers tracked the sleep of 2,329 women and 1,666 men over 20 years old. They found that sleeping more than eight hours a night increased the risk of lower HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels as well as higher triglyceride levels.

Additionally, getting less than five hours of sleep each night had similar results. However, women were more sensitive to oversleeping than men.

A separate study published by the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing found that those who slept less than six hours a night significantly increased their risk for cardiovascular disease. They also found that snoring also tied to decreased levels of HDL levels.

In another study published by Sleep, researchers found that young women were more sensitive to their sleep habits than young men were. Also, with each additional hour of sleep, cholesterol levels in young men and women got better.

They also found that the young adults’ appetites for foods high in cholesterol and their stress levels increased when they did not get enough sleep.

Sleep wasn’t the only factor that played into these results, since some of the participants also smoked, didn’t exercise much, or had a poor diet.

How to Regulate Sleep

Many people nowadays cannot sleep without scrolling through their social media pages or watching the news. Studies are showing that the light that emanates from these screens can interrupt your sleep cycle.

Try to go to bed around the same time each night and stay away from your phone for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Also, setting an alarm on the weekends will help you stick to your sleep schedule and regular your body faster.

Also, avoid drinking any beverages that contain caffeine. It will most likely keep you up or cause you to toss and turn.