Sleeping too little or too much may up disease risk

Short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease,stroke and diabetes.

Written by PTI | Washington | Published:October 3, 2013 2:39 pm

Sleeping for less than six hours or more than 10 hours a night is linked with chronic diseases-including coronary heart disease,diabetes,anxiety and obesity-in adults age 45 and older,a new study has found.

According to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease,stroke and diabetes,in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress,compared with optimal sleepers who reported sleeping seven to nine hours on average in a 24-hour period.

The same was true for long sleepers,and the associations with coronary heart disease,stroke and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep.

“Some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity,” said study co-author Janet B Croft,senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health.

“This suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases,” Croft said.

The study involved more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older. Nearly one third of participants (31 per cent) were identified as short sleepers,meaning they reported sleeping six hours or less on average.

More than 64 per cent were classified as optimal sleepers,and only 4 per cent of participants were long sleepers.

“It’s critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep,but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition,” said Dr M Safwan Badr,president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

“Common sleep illnesses – including sleep apnea and insomnia – occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder your ability to sleep soundly.

“So if you’re waking up exhausted,speak with a sleep physician to see if there’s a problem. If you are diagnosed with a sleep illness,treating it could significantly improve disease symptoms and your quality of life,” Badr said.

The study was published in the Journal SLEEP.

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