Routine, Sleep and Premature Death

Sleeping for less that six hours a night is correlated strongly with an increased risk of premature death over a 25-year period (a 12% increase in the likelihood of your premature death, to be exact).

That’s the conclusion from an extensive report (studying 1.5 million people) convincingly showing the link between quality sleep and one’s health/well-being.

The study looked at the relationship between sleep and mortality by reviewing earlier studies from the UK, US and European and East Asian countries.

Premature death from all causes was linked to getting either too little or too much sleep outside of the “ideal” six to eight hours per night.

But while a lack of sleep may be a direct cause of ill health, ultimately leading to an earlier death, too much sleep may merely be a marker of ill health already.

That last bit’s important (correlation not causation), with one researcher calling sleep the “litmus paper to physical and mental health”.

Another report in the same journal (Sleep) demonstrated the importance of a stable daily routine in getting a good night’s sleep (although thus far it has only been shown in the elderly):

Increased stability in daily routine […] predicted shorter sleep latency, higher sleep efficiency and improved sleep quality. […] Maintenance of daily routines is associated with a reduced rate of insomnia in the elderly.

So… stop your happy-go-lucky, spur-of-the-moment, devil-may-care lifestyle; live to a timetable; live longer?