On mornings like this, you've got two choices: Either emerge from the covers and get a head start to the day, or you try to go back to sleep.
On mornings like this, you've got two choices: Either emerge from the covers and get a head start to the day, or you try to go back to sleep.

Six things that could send you to an early grave - and it's not just drinking and smoking

Spending too much time in a chair and not getting enough sleep could put you more at risk than you realise

Victoria Richards
Wednesday 09 December 2015 12:58
Comments

We all know the things we do that are bad for us - smoking, drinking too much, eating junk food.

But a new study has revealed that there may be hidden dangers in the things we do everyday, and don't even think about - such as sitting down and sleeping.

Sitting in a chair for more than seven hours a day, and sleeping for more than nine hours a night were particularly damaging when combined with other risk factors, the research suggested.

Scientists have now called for those activities to be incorporated in a list of behaviours known to increase the risk of premature death.

They appear in a catalogue of six factors that raise the chances of dying early:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Dietary behaviour
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Sleep

The findings were published this week journal PLOS Medicine. The authors wrote that “some risk behaviors tend to cluster, particularly in certain patterns, and that the joint risk could be much higher than the sum of the individual risks."

Smoking was found to be the most dangerous single risk factor on the list. Heavy drinkers who said they consumed more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week did not increase their chances of dying early - but those who combined heavy drinking with smoking nearly tripled their chances of premature death.

And when the same subjects also reported getting either too much - or too little sleep - the odds of an early death were nearly five times greater.

It means that even when the individual risk factors are low, they can have a deadly effect when combined with others on the list.

More than 230,000 people aged 45 and over took part in the six-year study in Australia.

Dr Melody Ding, from the University of Sydney, said: 'To examine specific patterns of lifestyle risk behaviors, 96 variables - representing all possible mutually exclusive combinations of smoking, high alcohol intake, physical inactivity, poor diet, prolonged sitting, and short/long sleep duration - were created.

"Short and long sleep durations were separated as two different risk factors, as their associations with mortality may be explained by different mechanisms.

"This analysis investigated four established and two [new] risk factors, namely, prolonged sitting and unhealthy sleep duration, which may be added to behavioral indices or risk combinations to quantify health risk."

The University of Sydney researchers also said that unhealthy habits were behind a third of early deaths, adding: "This large study reaffirms the importance of healthy lifestyles."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in