Excess sleep halves the risk of death in diabetics and almost doubles it in healthy people

An international group of scientists (China, Australia, England) has identified the correlation between sleep duration and mortality rates in diabetic patients and healthy individuals. Life expectancy was found to be affected by both too short and excessively long sleep. Professionals compared sleep deprivation mortality rates in type 2 diabetics and healthy individuals. The objects of the study were 273 thousand people, of which more than 24 thousand suffered from diabetes. The observation lasted 11 years (from 2004 to 2015).  

Scientists have found out that in people with diabetes, whose sleep duration was 7 hours, the death rate was 138 per 10 thousand man-years (an indicator that combines people and time - it shows how many hours the total number of people under observation). Among diabetics who slept less than 5 hours a day, the rate was 215, and sleep for 10 hours or more corresponded to 364. Similar figures for healthy subjects were 78 (7 hours of sleep), 122 (less than 5 hours), and 256 (more than 10 hours) per 10,000 man-hours.

Thus, in diabetic patients who slept less than 5 hours, the risk of death increased by 42% compared to those who slept seven hours, while sleep lasting 10 or more hours increased the risk of death by 63%. In the healthy group, sleep deprivation reduced life by 33% and excess sleep increased the risk of death by 90%, almost doubling. 

In this study, scientists found as well the impact of diabetics' sleep duration on the risk of dying from various causes. It turned out that 5 hours of sleep increased the probability of dying from cancer by 41% and 10 by 59%. Some indicators were affected only by 10 hours of sleep: it increased the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 74%, tripled the probability of dying from stroke, and 2.6 times the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

The authors remind that one of the mechanisms of the influence of sleep duration on life expectancy has been revealed earlier. It turned out that the sleep deficit leads to a 40% decrease in glucose levels in the body, resulting in the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Its excitation leads to a decrease of tissue sensitivity to insulin, an increase of arterial pressure, and provokes disorders leading to obesity. Experts also believe that excessive long sleep result in to chronic inflammation in the body, thereby increasing the chances of dying prematurely.

July 20, 2020, 10:22 a.m.

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