Alarming Rate of Death Linked to Short Sleep

September 20, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Alarming Rate of Death Linked to Short Sleep
A group of 741 men, average age 50, were followed for 14 years. Those with less than 6 hours per night of sleep1 had a 433% increased risk of death from any cause during the study period. This is an astounding number and places a new emphasis on the importance of quality sleep as one grows older.

This study also looked at 1000 women, average age 47, who were followed for 10 years. In this group the relationship between lack of sleep and mortality was not seen. Why? Because women live 10 years longer than men in the first place, the average age of the study participants was 3 years less than men, and they were followed for four years less time. It is quite likely that the same rate of death from a lack of sleep would appear in women, especially in a study group that was a few years older at baseline and followed for the full 14 years.

It is fairly common that as people age they have more trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping well. This is because the efficiency of metabolism is not as good as when younger. Various hormones must be triggered in sequence during sleep in order for sleep to occur properly and result in healthy rejuvenation and repair. And like an older singer that can no longer hit the high notes, many of the metabolic cues can be lessened due to the declining levels of many hormones as well as the functionality of hormone receptors.

This means that sleep problems during aging tend to reflect general hormone inefficiency. In simple cases, basic nutrition that helps sleep can improve the situation. Managing stress well is another top priority. A person may need to restore metabolic fitness through a combination of following the Leptin Diet, consistently exercising, and using nutrition to support these processes. It is never too late to get on a better health trend. Adequate quality sleep is one key sign of how well you are doing.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Lack of Sleep and Mortality Risk  Sleep  1.Vgontzas AN; Liao D; Pejovic S; Calhoun S; Karataraki M; Basta M; Fernández-Mendoza J; Bixler EO.

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