Sleeping for less than five hours in mid-to-late life is associated with the risk of developing at least two chronic diseases, a UK study has found.
Researchers from the University College London (UCL) in the UK found that people who reported getting five hours of sleep or less at age 50 were 20 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease.
They were also 40 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases over a follow-up period of 25 years, compared to those who slept for up to seven hours.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, also found that sleeping for five hours or less at the age of 50, 60, and 70 was linked to a 30 per cent to 40 per cent increased risk of multimorbidity, or being diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases, when compared with those who slept for up to seven hours.
“Multimorbidity is on the rise in high income countries and more than half of older adults now have at least two chronic diseases,” said study lead author, Severine Sabia. “This is proving to be a major challenge for public health, as multimorbidity is associated with high healthcare service use, hospitalisations and disability,” Sabia said. The researchers also found that sleep duration of five hours or less at age 50 was associated with 25 per cent increased risk of mortality over the follow-up period.
This can mainly be explained by the fact that short sleep duration increases the risk of chronic diseases that in turn increase the risk of death, they said.