Sleep research a wake-up
Fancy another lie-in? Not a good idea, if you want to stay healthy
Having regular lie-ins is worse for the body than getting too little sleep, research suggests.
Scientists have known for some time that not getting enough sleep increases the risk of health complaints such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
But a new review led by Keele University in Staffordshire found that people who slept for an average of 10 hours a night were 30% more likely to die early than those who only slept for seven hours.
Current recommendations suggest that adults should sleep for eight hours a night. Although the precise benefits of sleep are unknown, experts believe it gives the body a chance to repair cells and blood vessels, clear out waste and boost the immune system.
It was generally thought that too little sleep was far worse than too much. But the new review of 74 studies involving three million people shows the opposite is true.
The research found that people who regularly slept for 10 hours were 56% more likely to suffer a stroke, 49% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and had a 44% increase in coronary heart disease.
Lead researcher Dr Chun Shing Kwok, working with Professor Mamas Mamas at Keele University’s Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, said: “Sleep affects everyone. The amount and quality of our sleep is complex.
“There are cultural, social, psychological, behavioural and environmental influences on our sleep such as the need to care for children or family members, irregular working shift patterns, physical or mental illness and the 24-hour availability of commodities in modern society.
“We were interested to know if it was more harmful to sleep below or beyond the recommended hours.”
The results show that sleeping for longer than the recommended duration may be associated with a moderate degree of harm.
“Our study shows that excessive sleep is a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk,” said Dr Kwok. “Our findings have important implications as clinicians should have greater consideration for exploring sleep duration and quality during consultations.
“If excessive sleep patterns are found, clinicians should consider screening for adverse cardiovascular risk factors and obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.”
The study, which also involved researchers from the universities of Leeds, Manchester and East Anglia, was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. – The Daily Telegraph