Study: Insomniacs have higher death risk

Dec 21, 2010

Being an insomniac can have serious consequences

Getting enough sleep each night has been shown to be crucial for humans to perform tasks at an optimal level. Some research indicates that a lack of sleep may lead to increased body weight, drowsy driving and other conditions that may lead to higher health and life insurance premiums.

New research reveals the amount of sleep a person gets may also affect how long they live.

A research team from Penn State University found males who are self-described insomniacs and slept less than six hours a night have a four times higher death rate compared to those who get at least six hours of sleep.

"Insomnia is a serious disease," PSU researcher Dr. Alexandros Vgontzas told WebMD. "We show insomnia is associated with physical problems. That is new, and it makes insomnia a health problem equal to sleep apnea."

The research team also found an even higher death risk for insomniacs who also had diabetes or high blood pressure.

The Sleep Foundation suggests people establish a regular sleep and wake time and avoid caffeine before bed for a restful evening.

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