Seven hours sleep a night could be the optimum
’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.
"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.
VIRGINIA GEWIN | © Nature News Service
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy