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Sleep patterns, especially those associated with chronic disease, are an area of medical research.
But how do we predict how sleep patterns will affect the body?
How do we know when a person’s sleep is normal?
And if they are too sleepy, can we correct their sleep patterns to improve their health?
This new study looks at how sleep pattern influences body composition, health, and longevity.
The research team, led by Dr. Elizabeth Knecht at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Institute, and Dr. Jelena Lovicu at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, used data from more than 1.4 million adults, including 6,600 from the general population.
The researchers found that people who slept at least 30 minutes more every night were 25 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who slept fewer hours per night.
They also found that those who were more likely than others to sleep at least 45 minutes a night were three times more likely not to die of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Knebt said sleep patterns are one of the most important determinants of health.
“When people sleep too little or too much, their body temperature and heart rate go up and it can affect the heart,” she said.
“That is something that is associated with all types of conditions, from cardiovascular diseases to cancer.”
Dr. Lovicus said the findings show that we need to pay more attention to the sleep patterns of the middle-aged.
“We have a lot of evidence that sleep patterns have a big influence on the health and well-being of people over their lifetimes,” she explained.
“Our results indicate that older people who sleep more, and those who sleep longer, are more likely in the overall population to be at increased risk of mortality and disease.”
Dr Kneft said that in addition to preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the findings suggest that older adults could be better off adjusting their sleep pattern to optimize their health.
The study was published in the journal Sleep.