Sleeping more than eight hours per night could increase risk of early death, finds study

Indulging in extra sleep could do more harm than good

Sarah Young
Tuesday 07 August 2018 11:42 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Sleeping for more than eight hours a night could lead to an early death, new research suggests.

A global study led by Keele University has found that people who regularly make time for more sleep could end up with a “serious sleep disorder” that disrupts their breathing and causes an increased risk of heart disease.

As a result, the researchers, who looked at data from 74 studies, said that excessive sleep could be a “marker” of poor health.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study examined the link between self-reported sleep, cardiovascular disease and mortality in more than three million participants from 1970 to 2017.

The scientists found that a sleep duration of ten hours is linked with 30 per cent increased risks of early death compared to sleeping for seven hours.

The study also revealed a 56 per cent increased risk of stroke mortality and a 49 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular mortality for those who slept for more than eight hours.

Lead researcher Dr Chun Shing Kwok, who works at Keele University's Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, explains: “Our study has an important public health impact in that it shows that excessive sleep is a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk.

“Our findings have important implications as clinicians should have greater consideration for exploring sleep duration and quality during consultations.

“If excessive sleep patterns are found, particularly prolonged durations of eight hours or more, then clinicians should consider screening for adverse cardiovascular risk factors and obstructive sleep apnoea, which is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep.”

The study, which also found that poor sleep quality was associated with a 44 per cent increase in coronary heart disease, is one of many that highlight the impact sleep can have on a person’s physical health.

Last month, the University of Sydney revealed that oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnoea could cause your brain to shrink in the regions which play an important role in memory and which are also affected by dementia.

Similarly, a recent study by the University of Glasgow found that an insufficient amount of sleep could also be detrimental to your mental health.

The findings concluded that a disrupted circadian rhythm can lead to an increased possibility of developing mood disorders and lower levels of happiness.

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