I already have enough chronic health conditions to do me in several times over and now I read about another one today. I have always had a sort of insomnia. I sleep in short bursts of about two or three hours and then I get up. This is from long years of being awakened in the middle of the night by phone calls from the 24-hour restaurant I managed for years and a chronic pain condition. Once the pain medication wears off, I’m up.
Now I read that short sleep or insomnia can increase men’s chances of dying early four times over. According to Medical News Today: “US researchers found that short sleep and insomnia was linked to a four times higher risk of early death in men; they urged public health policy makers to emphasize earlier diagnosis and treatment of chronic insomnia.”
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published their findings on September 1st in the journal Sleep. Previous studies have shown the link between this type of sleep cycle and poorer health, but it did not show an increased risk of mortality.
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The person will sleep a few hours and then wake up. Chronic insomnia was defined in the study as a person who has had the condition for a year or more.
In the study, the researchers followed a group of both men and women for 10 years and recorded their sleep patterns. 8 percent of the women and 4 percent of the men had sleep cycles that lasted less than 6 hours. For men without insomnia the mortality rate for the 14 year adjusted cycle study was about 9 percent while the men who experienced insomnia the mortality rate was a significant 51 percent.
The interesting thing about the study is that there was no increased mortality indicated in the women with the shorter sleep cycles. The mortality rate increased slightly in those who had chronic health conditions like hypertension and diabetes.
The researcher concluded that the increased mortality risk from insomnia had been underestimated in the past. But they are not suggesting that the 6-hour cycle is the cutoff point or the ideal amount of time that you should sleep every night. In the past it has been suggested that the ideal amount of sleep for an adult is 8-9 hours per night.
Another study has shown that if you get a lot more than that amount of sleep it also results in an increased mortality rate.