Less Sleep, Longer Life? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/15/02

Less Sleep, Longer Life?

For what it's worth, this story might convince you not to knock yourself out trying to get eight hours of sleep every night. Eight hours always seemed to be the magic number, but now, it's six or seven.

According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association. It tells about a six-year study of more than a million adults which found those who got only six to seven hours a night lived longer than those who slept eight hours or more. Specifically, that people sleeping seven hours were 12% more likely to live an average of six years longer than those sleeping eight.

Researchers say they don't know why there appears to be a longer sleep, shorter life connection. They note, though, that getting too little sleep had the same effect as getting too much. The study found people who averaged four hours or less had the same death rate as those who slept eight hours or more (living 6 years less as those who got 6-7 hours of sleep).

While the connection between less sleep and a longer life seems clear, researchers say the study did not come up with any clues that would help explain the link. They now plan to do studies to explore the possible health benefits of setting the alarm clock an hour or two earlier.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the American Cancer Society collaborated on the study. Data came from the American Cancer Society with analysis supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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