- Explain to interested patients sleep has a complicated association with mortality.
- Point out that both too much sleep and too little have been associated with an increased mortality risk
- Point out that the optimal amount of sleep appears to be about seven to eight hours daily.
- Emphasize that the study was based on evaluation of a database, not a prospective, randomized clinical study.
HELSINKI, Finland, Oct. 1 -- Sleep excesses one way or the other can carry a roughly 20% greater mortality risk over two decades, investigators here found.
Men, in particular, had a significant increase in the associations between natural death and both stable long and stable short sleep, Christer Hublin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and colleagues, reported in issue of Sleep.
The findings add to evidence of sleep's impact on health and mortality but also show that the association is complicated. "The exact mechanisms [of the association] remain unclear, and they should be assessed in experimental settings and other longitudinal studies," Dr. Hublin and colleagues concluded.
"Although the effect of sleep on mortality is fairly modest compared to . . . smoking or components of the metabolic syndrome, it is still of considerable significance as it is associated with several common disorders such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes," they added.