ADULTS who sleep more than eight hours a night are 30% more likely to die early, a new study suggests.
A decade-long study shows adults who regularly sleep more than eight hours, categorised as long-sleepers, were at risk of dying early.
Researchers also found those who regularly slept for less than six hours, known as short-sleepers, were also more likely to die earlier than those who gained seven hours a night.
The optimum number of hours adults should sleep a night is between seven and eight – referred to as medium-sleepers.
More than one million people were asked about their sleeping habits, followed up over time, as part of the study at Warwick University in the UK.
Experts found excess sleep can create similar problems to having too little, including depression, heart disease, diabetes and other underlying health concerns.
The university’s cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology faculty’s Professor Franco Cappuccio put the participants into three broad groups.
His analysis showed 30% more of the long sleepers died younger, compared to medium sleepers.
And 12% more of short sleepers died in the same period, compared to medium sleepers.
The significant rise in mortality risk is equivalent to the risk of drinking several units of alcohol per day.
“We tend to rely on very simple methods of asking people on average how many hours they sleep a night. It has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
“Naturally, you have to rely on your memory and you don’t know if you’re reporting time in bed or time asleep and whether you’re accounting for naps, and so forth,” Cappuccio said.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Sleep Disorders Centre’s Doctor Gregg Jacobs said most adults reported seven hours of sleep a night.
“That suggests there’s something around seven hours of sleep that’s kind of natural for the brain.”