Effect of sleep on life expectancy and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6125 (Published 15 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6125

Fat, unfit people who sleep less have an increased risk of dying. That’s the headline message from an analysis of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study (1995-96) (American Journal of Epidemiology 2014, doi:10.1093/aje/kwu222). The study looks at associations between sleep duration and total, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality in 239 896 US men and women aged 51-72 years who were initially free of cancer, CVD, and respiratory disease. Compared with 7-8 hours of sleep a day, shorter and longer sleep durations were associated with higher total and CVD mortality, but a combination of unfitness, obesity, and lack of sleep carried the greatest risk.

Staying with life expectancy in the US, the story is one of large ethnic and geographical differences (Journal of Public Health 2014, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdu059)—particularly the number of healthy years expected at age 25 years. In 2008, non-Hispanic white adults could expect 2.6 more years of healthy life than Hispanic adults and 7.8 …

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