Insomnia, Short Sleep Duration Linked to Mortality in Men

Those with insomnia who sleep less than six hours nightly have substantially higher risk of death
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Insomnia with objective short sleep duration is related to an increased risk of mortality among men, according to research published in the Sept. 1 issue of SLEEP.

Alexandros N. Vgontzas, M.D., of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues examined mortality rates in 1,741 men and women studied in a sleep laboratory and followed up for 14 years (men) and 10 years (women). "Insomnia" was defined as a complaint of insomnia for at least a year. Sleep duration was classified into two categories: "normal sleep duration," which was at least six hours per night, and "short sleep duration," which was less than six hours.

The researchers found that men who slept less than six hours per night were four times more likely to die during the 14-year follow-up period than those with normal sleep duration and no insomnia. In patients with diabetes or hypertension, there was a marginally significant trend (P = 0.15) toward higher mortality risk from short sleep duration and insomnia. Insomnia and short sleep did not appear to affect mortality in women.

"In conclusion, insomnia with short sleep duration in men is associated with a significant risk for death, in a degree comparable to the other most common sleep disorder, sleep disordered breathing. Given the high prevalence of the disorder in the general population and the widespread misconception that this is a disorder of the 'worried well,' its diagnosis and appropriate treatment should become the target of public health policy," the authors write.

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