A new study suggests that not getting enough sleep each night may increase the risk of multiple chronic diseases in older adults.
Data from nearly 8,000 healthy people aged 50, 60 or 70 found that people who slept 5 hours or less were 40 times more likely to develop two or more long-term health conditions than those who slept 7 hours or less %.
70-year-olds were at the highest risk, while 60- and 50-year-olds were at 32 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Conditions considered include diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, depression and dementia.
Less sleep at age 50 was also associated with a 25% increased risk of death, largely because it was associated with an increased risk of chronic disease.
The data come from a cohort study established in 1985 by the University of Paris, University College London, and the French National Institute of Health.
Severine Sabia, one of the researchers, said: “Our study, based on data from more than 7,000 men and women followed for 25 years, reports that short sleep duration from mid-life to later life is associated with the risk of chronic disease and subsequent multimorbidity. “
“Listen to our bodies”
Dr Sabia told Sky News there has been a trend of less sleep in recent decades, citing the fact that A study in the United States The study found that from 1985 to 2012, average sleep time fell by up to 15 minutes.
Dr Sabia added that people also tended to get less sleep as they got older.
“It could be that people don’t realize they’re sleep deprived,” she said, adding that 24/7 technology and busy lifestyles make it harder for people to switch off.
“So the first tip is to listen to our bodies: When you’re tired, go to sleep. We don’t allow ourselves the time we need to sleep.”
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Six tips to help you fall asleep
- Relax before bed – turn off those screens, maybe take a good shower, read a good book
- Drink less coffee – caffeine can stay in our bodies for up to eight hours, so don’t stay up late
- Don’t take your phone to bed – you can use it as an alarm clock, but we all know that if WhatsApp comes up, you pick it up
- Have a sleep schedule – try to go to bed at the same time every night (sorry, shift workers)
- Stop looking at the time – focusing on how long it takes you to fall asleep is the surefire way to not fall asleep
- Watch what you eat – if you eat dinner shortly before bed, cut back on carbs and sugar
Sleep duration was self-reported as part of a peer-reviewed study, which acknowledges that this is not always reliable.
At age 60 and 70, sleeping more than nine hours was associated with higher rates of multiple chronic diseases, but only 122 of the participants slept that long, and the longer sleep duration may be a consequence of the disease itself.
But these findings, along with evidence from previous studies, undoubtedly point to the importance of sleep duration to the physical health of older adults.
The researchers said they conducted the study because the prevalence of multiple long-term diseases is rising, with more than half of older adults in high-income countries suffering from at least two chronic diseases.
Their findings have been published in the journal PLoS Medicine.