Sleeping is incredibly important, with health practitioners recommending a minimum of seven hours a night. Now, a new study says that sleeping less than five hours a night can lead to various health problems, among them, cancer, heart disease, depression, and more.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, used data from more than 8,000 people in the United Kingdom with no known chronic diseases. Participants reported their sleep habits every four to five years along with some clinical examinations for a period of 25 years. Results showed that the older people were and the less they slept, the worse the prognosis.
Participants aged 50-years-old, who slept less than five hours a night, had a 30% risk to develop chronic diseases. These numbers increased with age. For example, at 60, participants who slept less than five hours had 32% of risk, while at 70, they had 40% of risk.
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Chronic diseases are varied, ranging from arthritis to cancer. All of these became more likely when people slept less than they should.
Researchers shared some of the study’s limitations, including the fact most participants were white men and that all were civil servants, meaning that they had higher odds of being healthier than the average population. Then there was also the fact that the research relied on self-reported data, something that is considered less reliable than if participants were to be monitored and tracked throughout all of these years.
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Adequate sleep has been known to help people in a range of way, from managing their weight to improving the health of their skin. It’s a process that’s good for mental and physical health and that affects us in ways that are almost untraceable. While it’s something that we do every day, sleep is often relegated, with people putting a priority on other aspects of their lives.
Still, more and more studies are coming out and helping us understand just how important sleep is and why people of all ages should prioritize it.