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Mortality study warns against abnormal sleep lengths

Filed in
  • sleep length
  • mortality

Sleep Education Archive  |  May 12, 2010
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The findings of a new study on sleep and mortality might make you think twice about sleeping in regularly. The long-term consequences might be dire; the study suggests people who sleep too much or too little sleep are at high risk for death.

The study published in the May issue of SLEEP adds to the chorus of warnings about the harmful effects of poor sleep habits.

Researchers analyzed pooled data from 16 previous studies. They looked at questionnaire results and death certificates.

They found short sleep duration, defined in the study as less than seven hours, raised people’s risk for death by 12 percent.

People who slept more than eight or nine hours a night were 30 percent more at risk.

Because of the limitations of the study, the researchers were unable to determine whether abnormal sleep length led to the spike in mortality or the subjects were already unhealthy therefore they slept longer.

The authors speculate those sleeping habits could be due to undiagnosed health issues. Further research is needed to find out if sleep duration is an indicator of poor health.

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