See the effects of sleeping less than 5 hours a night
Get less than five hours of sleep in middle or old age could be linked to an increased risk of developing at least two chronic diseases, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.
The research, published in PLOS Medicine, looked at the impact of sleep duration on the health of more than 7,000 men and women aged 50, 60 and 70 from the Whitehall II cohort study.
The researchers examined the relationship between how long each participant slept, mortality, and whether they had been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases (multimorbidity), such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, over the course of 25 years.
People who reported getting five or fewer hours of sleep at age 50 were 20% more likely to be diagnosed with one chronic disease and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases over 25 years, compared with people who slept up to seven hours.
In addition, sleeping five hours or less at ages 50, 60 and 70 was linked to a 30 percent to 40 percent increased risk of multimorbidity compared with those who slept up to seven hours.
The researchers also found that sleep duration of five hours or less at age 50 was associated with a 25% increased risk of mortality during the 25-year follow-up, which may be explained primarily by the fact that sleep duration Short sleep increases the risk of chronic diseases. diseases that in turn increase the risk of death.
“Multimorbidity is increasing in high-income countries and more than half of older adults now have at least two chronic conditions,” said lead author Dr Severine Sabia (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health and Inserm , University Paris Cite).
This is proving to be a major public health challenge, as multimorbidity is associated with high use of health services, hospitalizations, and disability.
“As people age, their sleep habits and sleep structure change. However, 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is recommended, as sleep durations above or below this limit have previously been associated with individual chronic illness.
“Our findings show that short sleep duration is also associated with multimorbidity.
“To ensure a better night’s sleep, it’s important to promote good sleep hygiene, such as making sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature before bed. It is also recommended to remove electronic devices and avoid large meals before bedtime. Physical activity and light exposure during the day may also promote good sleep.”
As part of the study, the researchers also tested whether sleeping for a prolonged period of nine hours or more affected health outcomes. There was no clear association between prolonged sleep duration at age 50 years and multimorbidity in healthy people.
However, if a participant had already been diagnosed with a chronic condition, prolonged sleep duration was associated with a 35% increased risk of developing another condition. The researchers believe this could be due to underlying health conditions that affect sleep.
Jo Whitmore, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Getting enough sleep allows the body to rest. There are plenty of other ways poor sleep could increase your risk of heart disease or stroke, including by increasing inflammation and raising blood pressure.
“This research adds to a growing body of research that highlights the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.”