Researchers have found that more than nine hours of sleep at night alongside prolonged sitting during the day can cause early death.
Sleeping for long periods of time may put you at high risk of early death, according to a new study.
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Researchers from the University of Sydney have found that people who sleep more than nine hours (at night) are more likely to die early. The situation will get even worse if it’s combined with too much sitting during the day or lack of exercise.
“Evidence has increased in recent years to show that too much sitting is bad for you and there is growing understanding about the impact of sleep on our health but this is the first study to look at how these things might act together.” Dr Melody Ding, lead author of the study, said.
“When you add a lack of exercise into the mix, you get a type of ‘triple whammy’ effect. Our study shows that we should be really taking these behaviors together as seriously as we do other risk factors such as levels of drinking and unhealthy eating patterns.”
For the study, researchers examined the lifestyle of more than 230,000 participants aged 40 and above. They tried to find out how much behavioral risk factors such as smoking, high alcohol intake and poor diet contributed to early death if prolonged sitting and unhealthy sleep duration are added into it. Then, they looked at different combinations of all these risk factors to determine which grouping has the most effect on premature death.
Participants were followed for six years and it was found that physical inactivity, prolonged sitting and long sleep durations were the hazardous combination. Smoking, high intake of alcohol and lack of sleep was also linked to four times greater risk to early death.
The research was conducted to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle risk factors are modifiable and replacing them with healthy habits can prevent premature death.
“The take-home message from this research - for doctors, health planners and researchers - is that if we want to design public health programs that will reduce the massive burden and cost of lifestyle-related disease we should focus on how these risk factors work together rather than in isolation," said co-author Adrian Bauman.
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“These non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer) now kill more than 38 million people around the world and cause more deaths than infectious disease. Better understanding what combination of risk behaviors poses the biggest threat will guide us on where to best target scarce resources to address this major and growing international problem.”