Sleeping five hours or less can increase your risk of several chronic diseases
Prioritizing getting enough sleep each night is important, and a new study further points out that sacrificing those hours has consequences.
In a study published this week in PLOS Journal, researchers from the University of College London used data from the Whitehall II study (a long-term study of British civil servants) to analyze more than 7,000 civil servants in the UK UK over 25s who reported how much they slept at around age 50, 60 and 70 respectively. The study notes whether participants developed chronic disease or multimorbidity, meaning they have at least two of 13 chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, stroke, lung disease chronic obstructive tissue, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, depression and other mental health disorders.
As the aging population grows, so does the number of people with multiple chronic conditions. Previous research shows that there is a lack of information about risk factors for developing several chronic diseases, including sleep health.
“As people age, their sleep patterns and sleep patterns change,” says Dr. Séverine Sabia, study author and research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology and Health of the United States. ‘UCL in a press release. “However, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is recommended, as higher or lower sleep durations have been linked to individual chronic conditions.”
The study found that sleeping five hours or less per night at ages 50, 60 and 70 was associated with an increased risk of developing several chronic diseases over time compared to sleeping seven hours. Shorter sleep durations at age 50 were associated with a 20% higher risk of developing one chronic disease and an increased risk of developing more than one. Getting nine or more hours of sleep was also associated with multimorbidity at ages 60 and 70, although not statistically significant at age 50, according to the study.
“This research is important because it draws attention to the importance of sleep health and the recognition of the importance of sleep health as it relates to overall health: mental health [and] physiological health,” says Dr. April Rogers, a sleep research scientist and assistant professor at St. John’s University in the division of health and human services, who was not involved in the study. Fortune. The greater the awareness of the effects of sleep, the more “impactful information” the public will receive on how to rest and restore, she says.
Still, she notes that more research on a broader population is needed, because the study participants were overwhelmingly white men and all civil servants, meaning they had job stability.
Sleep quality and the body’s ability to regulate hormones are as crucial as sleep duration, Rogers says. Falling into slow-wave, or deep, sleep is an important step in this process, and sleep routines help pave the way.
“Have a regular sleep schedule. Have a dark, quiet, thermoregulated sleep environment,” she says, adding that limiting large meals, caffeine and alcohol just before bedtime also promotes optimal sleep quality.