September 24, 2007
Skimping On Sleep Increases Death Risk

Skimping on the sleep might kill you.

Researchers from the University of Warwick, and University College London, have found that lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. However they have also found that point comes when too much sleep can also more than double the risk of death.

In research to be presented on Monday 24th September 2007, to the British Sleep Society, Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the University of Warwick’s Warwick Medical School  will show the results of a study of how sleep patterns affected the mortality of 10,308  civil servants in the “Whitehall II study”. Amongst other things the data they used provided information on the mortality rates and sleep patterns on the same group of civil servants at two points in their life (1985-8 and those still alive in 1992-3).

The researchers took into account other possible factors such age, sex, marital status, employment grade, smoking status, physical activity, alcohol consumption, self-rated health, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, other physical illness etc. Once they had adjusted for those factors they were able to isolate the effect that changes in sleep patterns over 5 years had on mortality rates 11-17 years later.

Taking those who had not made any change in their sleeping habits between 1985-8 and 1992-3  as their baseline (7 hours per night being the figure normally recommended as an appropriate period of sleep for an adult) they were able to see what difference having reduced the amount of sleep over time  made to mortality rates by 2004.

Those who had cut their sleeping from 7h to 5 hours or less faced a 1.7 fold increased risk in mortality from all causes, and twice the increased risk of death from a cardiovascular problem in particular.

People who sleep less could conceivably have diseases that are disrupting their sleep and eventually killing them. But that seems an unlikely explanation given the stress effects of sleep deprivation. Get enough sleep. It ight save your life.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 September 24 11:14 PM  Aging Lifestyle Studies

Brett Bellmore said at September 27, 2007 4:50 AM:

How does this work out in terms of total hours alive and awake, rather than just total hours alive? 'Cause it wouldn't do a lot of good to be able to stretch your life out a year, if it required being comatose for two years.

Well, actually, I suppose it would, if the right medical development came along during that year...

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