Sleeplessness whether because of new love or the same old burden of work will not help you in any way. Nor will sleeping your heart out. In fact, a new study has found that short sleepers are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases. Sleeping for less than six hours or more than 10 hours a night can cause coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity in adults aged 45 and above.
The study was done by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It reported that as compared to optimal sleepers who slept for seven to nine hours on an average in a 24-hour period, short sleepers had a higher prevalence of coronary heart diseases, strokes and diabetes, in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress. The same held true for long sleepers.
"Some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity," said study co-author Janet B Croft, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Population Health.
"This suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases," Croft said.
More than 54,000 participants of age 45 or older were involved in the study. Out of them all, one third (31 per cent) were identified as short sleepers; more than 64 per cent as optimal sleepers and only 4 per cent were long sleepers.
"It's critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition," said Dr M Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
"Common sleep illnesses - including sleep apnea and insomnia - occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder your ability to sleep soundly.
"So if you're waking up exhausted, speak with a sleep physician to see if there's a problem. If you are diagnosed with a sleep illness, treating it could significantly improve disease symptoms and your quality of life," Badr said.
The study was published in the Journal SLEEP.
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