Getting Less Than 6 Hours Sleep ‘increases chance of early death’

early death risk factors

A new scientific study confirms what we’ve already suspected for a long time: that not enough sleep will destroy your health and your life, sooner or later. But, it’s actually far worse than that. The thing is, if you’re over-worked and getting less than 6 hours sleep a night for prolonged periods of time may lead to early death, due a stroke or heart attack.

The new study also reveals that obese people suffering from chronic disease like Type 2 Diabetes and/or high blood pressure (these conditions are often related) actually require more sleep to survive. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep/night will double the chance of dying from a stroke or heart disease in at risk people.

The scientists surveyed 1344 patients over long term. The average age of the patients was 49 and this study is the first of its kind, i.e. to measure sleep in a lab. Also, this is the first long term study to analyze the impact of sleep deprivation with regard to the chances of early death on vulnerable groups. The researchers found that sleep deprivation is particularly dangerous for those with poor glucose metabolism (diabetes) and/or high blood pressure.

Patients presenting the aforementioned risk factors who slept less than 6 hours a night were found to be 2.1x more likely to die of heart attacks/disease. Even if this was just an observational study, its empiric findings, even if they don’t definitely demonstrate/guarantee causality, they clearly prove the association between sleep deprivation and early death in people susceptible to be at risk from heart disease and diabetes.

According to  Penn State College of Medicine’s Dr Julio Fernandez-Mendoza:

“Taking care of your sleep is important if you want to lower your risk of heart disease or stroke.Future clinical trials are needed to determine whether lengthening sleep, in combination with lowering blood pressure and glucose, improves the prognosis of people with the metabolic syndrome.”