Oversleeping and Undersleeping Causes Chronic Illnesses in Adults

First Posted: Oct 04, 2013 09:41 AM EDT

A recent study conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that sleep for less than six hours and more than ten hours can cause chronic ailments like obesity, diabetes, anxiety and heart diseases in people aged 45 and above.

The study was conducted on above 54,000 participants aged 45 and above from  14 states. Around one third of the participants (31 percent) were found to be short sleepers, who napped for six hours or below on an average. Above 64 percent of the participants were identified to be optimal sleepers, and the remaining 4 percent of participants were long sleepers.

"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," Dr. M. Safwan Badr, president of the AASM, said in a press release.

"Common sleep illnesses -- including sleep apnea and insomnia -- occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder your ability to sleep soundly. So if you're waking up exhausted, speak with a sleep physician to see if there's a problem. If you are diagnosed with a sleep illness, treating it could significantly improve disease symptoms and your quality of life."

Patients diagnosed with such chronic diseases have been advised by the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) to consult a sleep medicine physician and get their sleeping pattern checked.

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

"This suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases," Croft added.

The study has been published in the October edition of the Journal SLEEP.

Short sleepers complain of suffering from mental stress, diabetes, obesity as well as coronary heart ailments and stroke in comparison to the optimal sleepers snoozing for seven to nine hours every day.

Long sleepers too claimed of experiencing the same chronic illnesses at a more significant level.

"Sleeping longer doesn't necessarily mean you're sleeping well. It is important to understand that both the quality and quantity of sleep impact your health," said Badr.

"A healthy, balanced lifestyle is not limited to diet and fitness; when and how you sleep is just as important as what you eat or how you exercise," Badr concluded.

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