A new study published in medical journal, Neurology on February 25, 2015 conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge has linked too much sleep with an increased risk of stroke.

The study found that for people who sleep more than eight hours per day the risk of stroke increases by up to four times, when compared to people who maintain a regular healthy sleep pattern.

PhD candidate and Cambridge researcher, Yue Leng states this research is the first of its kind to examine the relationship between a change in sleep duration and risk of stroke.

What is unclear is the direction of the link and whether “sleep is a symptom, an early marker or a cause of cardiovascular problems.”

In their study, Cambridge researchers monitored over 10,000 participants between the ages of 42 and 81, over a 10-year period. They found the majority of participants slept between six to eight hours a day, while one-in-ten slept for over eight hours.

Throughout the course of the study, 346 participants suffered a stroke (either fatal or non-fatal). Taking their research into consideration, the researchers concluded people who slept longer than eight hours were at 46 per cent increased risk of having a stroke.

Cambridge scientist, Kay-Tee reinforces further research is needed to understand the link between sleep and risk of stroke to “determine what is occurring in the body and causing the link.”