Lack of Sleep Can Kill: Study

By Tim Persinko
|  Wednesday, May 5, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM CDT
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Sleeping less can add more hours to your day, but make a habit of it and you'll be losing out in the long run, according to a new study.

That's what researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. said in their 25-year study of sleep patterns. The survey of 1.3 million people in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. found sleepers who got 6 to 8 hours a night lived longest. Those who got less than that were 12% more likely to die younger.

Sleeping too much is not much better for your health. People who averaged more than 9 hours of sleep also had greater risk of premature death, according to the data. However, researchers said in these cases, oversleeping was often a symptom of existing poor health, and not a cause.

"Whilst short sleep may represent a cause of ill health, long sleep is believed to represent more an indicator of ill health," said Professor Francesco Cappucio, an author of the study that appears this month in the science journal Sleep. "Consistently sleeping six to eight hours per night may be optimal for health."

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