People who reported daytime sleepiness during both interviews had a 2.5 times greater risk of developing heart disease.

Participants also gave self-reported measures of sleep quality each morning, which increased on nights they thought they were sleeping with their partner's scent.

In the Journal of Lipid Research, researchers at Pennsylvania State University reported that just a few days of sleep deprivation can make participants feel less full after eating and metabolise the fat in food differently.

Occasional napping, once to twice weekly, was associated with an almost halving in attack/stroke/heart failure risk (48 per cent) compared with those who didn't nap at all.

The research is based on analysis of registry data, collected in the European database ESADA, on a total of some 20,000 adult patients with obstructive sleep snooze (OSA). About 2 per cent of them also had a cancer diagnosis.

What is more, a high sleep variability and sleeping little, less than six hours, a day was associated with a lower decrease in body mass index and waist circumference.

The study published in the Journal of Sleep Research included seven studies that aimed to increase sleep duration in adults by any sleep extension intervention.

Very disruptive sleep has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including growth restriction and preterm growth.

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