A good night's sleep leads to 40 percent lower chance of death

Are YOU sleep deprived? Getting a good night’s sleep leads to 40% lower chance of death, study finds

  • New research shows getting enough sleep leads to a 40% lower chance of death
  • The findings come at a time when more than a third of the US is sleep deprived 
  • READ MORE: Our interactive map reveals how sleep-deprived your state is 

Getting a good night’s rest just might save your life. 

Researchers at Harvard Medical School found participants in a new study who maintained a regular and healthy sleep schedule had a 40 percent lower risk of dying than those who didn’t.

This means consistently getting about seven to nine hours of sleep, on par with national recommendations.  

‘Results suggest [the] benefits of expanding the public conversation on getting ‘a good night’s sleep’ and broadening this goal to getting many good nights of sleep, in a row, on weekdays and weekends,’ Research led by Joon Chung, involved in the study, said in a press release. 

The findings were presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies’ regular meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana last week.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the findings come when a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep – at least seven hours a night. 

A lack of sleep has consistently been linked to chronic health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.

The research team used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a medical research study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate 1,750 participants over a medium follow-up of seven years. 

Participants were outfitted with wrist actigraphy, and worn like a watch to assess their sleep patterns by measuring activity through light and movement. 

About 1,015 participants were categorized as ‘regular-optimal’ sleepers, while 744 were considered ‘irregular-insufficient’ sleepers, according to Medscape, which reviewed the study.

During the follow-up period, 176 people passed away. 

Data from United Health Foundation showed about a third of adults fail to get at least seven hours of sleep a night until they are 65 years old. From there, the levels drop to 26 percent — but this is still more than a quarter of older adults getting less than seven hours a night

The same dataset showed men are more likely to get insufficient sleep compared to women

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even on the weekends.  

Read more: Want to wake up feeling fresh? Try this sleep calculator which tells you the PERFECT time to hit the sack

Sleep deprivation is widespread across the US. 

According to 2020 data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which surveyed 400,000 Americans across the US, the most sleep-deprived states include Hawaii, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Sleep deprivation in this dataset means less than seven hours per night.  

The states with the least sleep deprivation included Colorado, Minnesota, and South Dakota. 

Nationwide, data shows about 34 percent of adults are sleep-deprived — getting less than seven hours a night — from 18 to 64 years old.

This drops to 26 percent when adults are over 65 years old, but that is still more than a quarter of adults getting insufficient sleep.

Men are more likely than women to get insufficient sleep overall, with 33.3 percent saying they sleep less than seven hours a night compared to 32.1 percent of women.

The CDC says that 8.4 percent of American adults take pills to fall asleep, more than double the amount who took them 10 years prior. 

These could rob the body of rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Too little REM sleep could lead to forgetfulness and make it harder to get up in the morning.

The CDC recommended that all Americans get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Children aged six to 12 years need nine to 12 hours a night, while teenagers should get eight to ten hours.

‘If sleep were an eight-hour pill, it would be beneficial to take the full dose at regular times consistently,’ Mr Chung said.

‘Getting adequate, regular sleep seems to be something that is good for all. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t benefit.’

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