Sleeping too little or too much linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity

Washington: A new study has associated too little sleep (6 hours or less) and too much sleep (ten or more hours) with chronic diseases - including coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity - in adults age 45 and older.

Dr. M. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), said that it's critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition.

He said that common sleep illnesses - including sleep apnea and insomnia - occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder a person's ability to sleep soundly.

Study co-author Janet B. Croft, PhD, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Population Health, said that some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity.

She said that this suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases.

In the study, short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress, compared with optimal sleepers who reported sleeping seven to nine hours on average in a 24-hour period.

The same was true for long sleepers, and the associations with coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep.

The study involved more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older in 14 states.

The study has been published in the Journal SLEEP.