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Sleep duration impacts health outcomes: But by how much? Do you sleep less than six hours per night?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Do you sleep less than 6 hours every night?

Sleep is an essential element of overall health. But what is the effect of not getting enough sleep? How does it affect our long-term health and the likelihood of developing avoidable diseases?

Do you consistently sleep less than 6 hours per night?

  • Yes

  • No

What is the effect of having less than 6 hours of sleep per night? (compared to more than 9 hours of sleep per night)

Increased risk for all-cause mortality

  • All-cause mortality is the inclusive death rate

  • Those who slept less than 6 hours per night were 12% more likely to experience all-cause mortality than those who slept 9 hours per night

Increased risk for diabetes mellitus

  • 37% more at risk for developing diabetes mellitus when compared to someone who sleeps more than 9 hours per night [1-3]

Increased risk for hypertension

  • 17% more likely to develop hypertension when you sleep less than 6 hours per night compared to someone who sleeps more than 9 hours [3]

Increased risk for cardiovascular disease

  • 16% increased risk for cardiovascular disease when less than 6 hours of sleep is compared to those that sleep more than 9 hours [2, 3]

Increased risk for coronary heart disease

  • 26% more likely to develop coronary heart disease when you sleep less than 6 hours per night consistently compared to greater than 9 hours [3]

Increased risk for obesity

  • 38% more at risk for developing obesity when you sleep less than 6 hours per night in comparison to more than 9 hours [2, 3]

Therefore, it is essential that we get more than 6 hours of sleep each night to reduce the likelihood of these preventable diseases from developing.


Strategies for getting a better night’s sleep?

  • Develop a sleep schedule

  • Get some daily exercise

  • Avoid midday napping

  • Limit electronics before sleep

  • Avoid night-time nicotine

  • Avoid large meals and alcohol

  • Avoid lying in bed awake – go and do something relaxing

  • Visit a health practitioner if nothing seems to work

Sometimes, being aware of how our lifestyle choices impact our long-term health is enough to make necessary adjustments.

It is vital to be aware of how our lifestyle can effect our long-term health

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Reference:

[1] Zizi F, Pandey A, Murrray-Bachmann R, Vincent M, McFarlane S, Ogedegbe G, et al. Race/Ethnicity, Sleep Duration, and Diabetes Mellitus: Analysis of the National Health Interview Survey. The American Journal of Medicine. 2012;125(2):162-7.

[2] Adenekan B, Pandey A, McKenzie S, Zizi F, Casimir GJ, Jean-Louis G. Sleep in America: Role of racial/ethnic differences. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2013;17(4):255-62.

[3] Itani O, Jike M, Watanabe N, Kaneita Y. Short sleep duration and health outcomes: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression. Sleep Medicine. 2017;32:246-56.


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