Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oversleepers may die early

15.02.2002


Seven hours sleep a night could be the optimum
© PhotoDisc


’Sleeping your life away’ could be more than a saying.

Excessive sleeping may increase your risk of an early death by up to 15%. So hints a new analysis of data collected on one million people by the American Cancer Society. The figures cast doubt on the reputed benefits of eight hours’ sleep a night.

People with the longest lives get only seven hours of sleep each night, find psychiatrists at the University of California, San Diego1. Why seven is the magic number is not clear. And sleeping more appears to be riskier than sleeping less. On the short side, increased mortality kicks in only when you get below four hours.



This unprecedented peek into the habits of so many people claims to be the first to determine the relationship between sleep and mortality, while controlling for other factors such as weight, smoking and exercise.

Currently, the average American gets about six-and-a-half hours sleep, much lower than the standard recommendation of eight hours. The new analysis suggests that patients may seek treatments unnecessarily in attempts to attain the eight-hour target.

"If people don’t sleep eight hours, they have nothing to worry about," says Daniel Kripke, a member of the team.

Insomniacs, the data suggest, have no greater risk of premature death. Sleeping pills, in contrast, might just shave some days off your life. Kripke’s group plans to conduct experiments to determine whether setting the alarm clock can lengthen survival.

But critics of the study hope it will not be over-interpreted. They point out that the enormous data set - part of a cancer prevention study in the 1980s - was not specifically designed to analyse sleep. Insomnia was not defined, sleeping pills were not identified, and those surveyed reported their own sleep behaviour in one-hour increments, leaving little room for fine detail.

"I do not think there is a specific survival advantage to short-changing ourselves from sleep," says Daniel Buysse, a sleep specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. More targeted studies are needed to explore the implications of excess sleep, he adds.

And there are trade-offs to consider. Cranky moods, heightened susceptibility to disease, and glucose intolerance are just some of the side-effects of sleep deprivation that diminish quality of life, even if they don’t cause early death.


References


  1. Kripke, D.F., Lawrence, G., Wingard, D.L., Klauber, M.R & Marler, M.R. Mortality associated with sleep duration and insomnia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59, 131 - 136, (2002).


VIRGINIA GEWIN | © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/020211/020211-12.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>