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Sleep duration linked to premature death - study

07-05-2010

A new study published in the current issue of the journal Sleep has claimed that regularly sleeping shorter or longer than the recommended 6-8 hours a night could prove to significantly increasing the risk of death.

The study involved a large set of data from 16 investigations across the world dating from 1966 to 2009 that looked at the issue of sleep duration and mortality, and assessed the correlations. The combined studies covered 1.3m people and 112,000 deaths.

Short duration of sleep was found to be factor in some 12% higher risk of death, while longer durations of sleep were linked to 30% increased risk, although it was indicated that long sleep was generally linked to wider health problems.

“Whilst short sleep may represent a cause of ill-health, long sleep is believed to represent more an indicator of ill-health,” said Professor Francesco Cappuccio, head of the Sleep, Health and Society Programme at the University of Warwick. “Modern society has seen a gradual reduction in the average amount of sleep people take, and this pattern is more common amongst full-time workers, suggesting that it may be due to societal pressures for longer working hours and more shift-work.”

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