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Less than six hours of sleep a night increases the risk of cancer and premature death

Less than six hours of sleep a night increases the risk of cancer and premature death


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Too little sleep harms our health

People with high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease if they sleep less than six hours a night.

The Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey, found that less than six hours of sleep a night put people with hypertension or type 2 diabetes at increased risk of premature death. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Heart Association" (JAHA).

Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease

Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are two very common health problems that people around the world experience. There are treatment options, but type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of people suffering from a heart condition or stroke.

The researchers found that sleep plays a very important role in people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. However, more research is needed to investigate whether improving or increasing the amount of sleep through medical or behavioral therapy can reduce the risk of premature death, the team reports.

Where did the data come from?

In the study, the data from 1,654 participants were evaluated. The participants were divided into two different groups according to their cardiometabolic risk. One group consisted of people with stage 2 or type 2 diabetes, while participants in the other group had already been diagnosed or treated for heart disease or stroke. There was also data on the participants' sleep, since the patients had already spent one night in a sleep laboratory between 1991 and 1998. The researchers also had access to the death records and the related documents for the years 1992 to 2016.

High blood pressure or type 2 diabetes increased the risk of premature death

The team's analysis found that of the 512 people who had died by 2016, about two-fifths had died from causes related to heart disease or stroke, while nearly a quarter died from cancer. What drew particular attention from the research group was the fact that people with hypertension or type 2 diabetes were twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke if they slept less than six hours compared with affected people who slept more than six hours.

Findings could lead to new treatment approaches

In addition, the group's participants for heart disease and strokes that slept less than six hours a night were almost three times as likely to die from cancer-related causes, the researchers report. Short sleep duration should be included as a useful risk factor for predicting the long-term results of people with these diseases and as a target for primary and specialized clinical practices, the researchers report. Better identification of people with specific sleep problems would potentially lead to improved prevention, broader treatment approaches and better long-term results, the team explains.

Were there any restrictions in the study?

The main limitation of the study is that the research group only had access to data on the length of sleep in a single night. Because this data comes from laboratory observations, the researchers warn that it could be possible that the participants' usual sleep behavior was different because they did not sleep in a known environment. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Julio Fernandez ‐ Mendoza, Fan He, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Duanping Liao, Edward O. Bixler: Interplay of Objective Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases on Cause ‐ Specific Mortality, in Journal of the American Heart Association (query: 04.10.2019 ), JAHA



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