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Can lack of sleep lead to premature death?

A study discovered that sleeping less than 6 hours a night was associated with a 12% higher chance of premature death compared to sleeping the recommended 6 to 8 hours. This finding was based on pooled data from more than 1.3 million participants worldwide.

Unfortunately, the threat of a shorter life for being a short sleeper isn’t a strong enough threat to get people to change their habits. If it were, then we’d see the same pressure to change habits among overweight people who live with a higher risk of illness and premature death due to their weight. Most habits are hard to break or change.

Some research studies suggest that people who do not get enough good-quality sleep have an increased risk of death. This may be due to a couple of factors. Decreased reaction time from lack of sleep can lead to increased accidents, particularly car accidents. It may also be related to the fact that being sleep-deprived contributes to serious cardiovascular risk factors (heart attack, angina, and stroke), which increase your risk of death.

If you are experiencing sleep problems, speak with your physician. Together you can identify likely causes of your sleep problems and appropriate treatments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.