How does the length of our sleep affect health?
If you are one of those people who often sleep too little a week, this could be extremely harmful to your health. Excessively long sleep times are just as bad. Researchers have now found that too much or too little sleep can lead to a variety of diseases and negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
In their current research, scientists from the Seoul National University College of Medicine found that too much or too little sleep can cause serious health complications. The doctors published the results of their current study in the English-language journal "BMC Public Health".
High blood pressure due to wrong sleeping habits?
When a person suffers from sleep deprivation, it is extremely harmful to health. Most people are well aware of this connection. However, both too little and too much can cause a variety of undesirable health conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the study authors explain.
Over 133,000 people took part in the study
For his study, the research team analyzed the data of a total of 133,608 Korean men and women between the ages of 40 and 69 years. The information was originally collected as part of the so-called HEXA study (The Health Examinees), which collected the data over the course of nine years from 2004.
Subjects were divided into different groups
The 44,930 men and 88,678 women were divided into four sleep categories during the study: less than six hours of sleep, between six and eight hours of sleep, between eight and ten hours of sleep, and more than ten hours of sleep.
Men with little sleep are more likely to develop a metabolic syndrome
The study found that men who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than those who slept for eight hours. The so-called metabolic syndrome refers to a number of conditions, including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and extra fat around the waist, the scientists add. In addition, both men and women who regularly received less than six hours of sleep were at greater risk of developing a larger waist size.
Too much sleep is also unhealthy
While it could normally be assumed that participants who slept for more than ten hours live healthier and less negative effects, the current studies have proven the opposite. Both men and women in this particular category showed an increased likelihood of metabolic syndrome. Women with long sleep times also tended to have excessive fat accumulation at the waist.
Effects were different in men and women
The current study is the largest study that investigates a dose-response relationship between sleep duration, metabolic syndrome and its components separately for men and women, explains study author Claire E. Kim from the University College of Medicine. A possible gender difference in sleep duration and metabolic syndrome was observed during the study, with a relationship between metabolic syndrome and long sleep in women and metabolic syndrome and short sleep in men, the doctor adds. However, the authors emphasize that their research was a so-called observational study and therefore no clear conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. (as)