London: Men suffering from sleep deprivation
are more likely to die prematurely than those who regularly
get a good night`s sleep, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine,
Pennsylvania, found that men with chronic insomnia were four
times more likely to die than those with healthy sleep
But, women appear able to cope with sleep deprivation
without lowering their life expectancy, they found.
The study, according to the researchers, adds to growing
evidence that too little sleep can have long-term health
"The primary finding of our study is that insomnia, the
most common sleep disorder, is associated with significant
mortality in men," said lead researcher Dr Alexandros Vgontzas
of the Penn State College of Medicine.
"Until now, no study has demonstrated that insomnia is
associated with mortality," Dr Vgontzas was quoted as saying
by the Daily Mail.
For their study, the scientists looked at the sleep
patterns of 1,000 women and 741 men, who joined the study in
the 1990s and provided a detailed sleep history. They also had
their sleep monitored during one night in a laboratory.
Eight per cent of women and four per cent of men were
diagnosed by the scientists as having chronic insomnia and
sleeping on average fewer than six hours a night.
But over the following 14 years, men with chronic
insomnia were four times more likely to die than those with
more healthy sleep patterns.
The findings took into account diseases that could cause
the men to sleep badly -- such as diabetes and high blood
pressure -- and risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use,
depression, obesity and sleeping disorders.
However, women with insomnia were just as likely to die
in the following decade as those without, the researchers
Men were at an even greater risk of premature death if
they suffered from chronic insomnia and diabetes or high blood
"We believe that cumulatively these findings will
increase the awareness among physicians and scientists that
insomnia should be diagnosed early and treated appropriately,"
said Dr Vgontzas.
Although the researchers are unsure why insomnia is more
dangerous for men, they suggested most adults need between
seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
The findings of the study are published in the medical