• The sleeping habits of over 7,000 people were analysed by researchers
  • The data analysis evaluated sleep duration and state of health
  • Researchers found that getting at least 5 hours of sleep may reduce the risk of chronic health problems in over 50s

Researchers from University College London and Paris Cité University have found that getting at least 5 hours of sleep a night could reduce the risk of mutilple, chronic illnesses.

Almost 8,000 participants were asked how many hours of sleep they had on an average weeknight, with some participants wearing fitness trackers.

Participants’ state of health was followed for over 25 years and found:

  • Participants sleeping 5 hours or less nightly at the age 50 had a 20% higher risk of a first chronic disease that those who slept 7 hours a night
  • Participants sleeping 5 hours or less nightly at the age 50 had a 30% higher risk of multiple chronic disease that those who slept 7 hours a night
  • A short sleep duration was associated with the onset of chronic disease for study participants

However, the research did not find an association between a long sleep duration and the risk of chronic disease.

Sleep is very important for human health. Sleep has been shown to improve attention and concentration, reduce stress and lower the risk of developing chronic conditions.

Not getting enough sleep is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In fact, an analysis of over 1 million people found that 5 hours or less of sleep increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 48%.

As well as brain function, a number of studies have shown that people sleeping 7 hours or less a night have a higher risk of weight gain and a high BMI.

The findings were published in PLoS Medicine.

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