ARE YOU SLEEPING YOUR WAY TO AN EARLY GRAVE?

By | April 7, 2016

The Easter break was a welcome holiday; a chance to catch up with friends and family, enjoy some great food and wine and to sleep.
I find when holidays come round, I’m exhausted and my body forces me to use the time to sleep. This isn’t what I want on my holidays and evidently it could lead me to an earlier death.
A study conducted by Cambridge University over nearly a decade observed 10,000 people between the ages of 42 and 81, they found that those who slept more than eight hours a day were 46 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than average.
They also found that those who slept less than six hours a night were 18 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke also.
“What is far less clear, however, is the direction of this link, whether longer sleep is a symptom, an early marker or a cause of cardiovascular problems,” research PhD candidate Yue Leng said.
Poor sleep quality already has links to higher risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Researchers from the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study also found a correlation that “undersleepers and oversleepers were mentally two years older than [those] who got seven to nine hours” of sleep a night.
Australia’s largest study conducted by University of Sydney involving 230,000 participants aged 45 and older found that “prolonged sleep, sitting and lack of exercise were a deadly trio”.
They also discovered that less than seven hours of sleep when combined with smoking and high alcohol intake increases your likelihood of an earlier death four-fold.
A study involving sleep deprivation of mice, showed mice that were sleep deprived developed more deposits of beta amyloid in the brain than those mice allowed to sleep normally.
Beta amyloid deposits in a human brain are linked to memory and thinking impairment and an increased risk of dementia.
If you’re having trouble sleeping or are sleeping too long, don’t ignore it, here are some things to consider: Is your pillow or mattress too old or not right for you? Are you too hot or too cold? Are you able to turn off your brain at night enough to fall asleep? Are you drinking too much alcohol or coffee? Do you have a routine of when you go to bed and when rise? Ask yourself, why are you sleeping for longer than eight hours?
Book in your annual health check up with your doctor and mention your increased need for more sleep. It might well be an alarm bell.
Dr Erin Coffey is an osteopath at the Health Creation Centre in Ocean Grove.