Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sleep & Health: Major Government Study

Here's a major government study linking sleep deprivation to obesity, smoking, alcohol use and physical inactivity. The study does not prove causation, but it does make one wonder, as it is consistent with a slew of other studies linking sleep deprivation with poor health (mental and physical).

The title is: "Sleep Duration as a Correlate of Smoking, Alcohol Use, Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity, and Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2004-2006." The study is from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are an excerpt from the Introduction:

"The importance of sleep in maintaining good health and quality of life is well recognized. Despite evidence of the health implications of insufficient sleep, a large number of Americans do not routinely get optimal hours of sleep. It is estimated that 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep loss or sleep disorders."

And the Conclusion:

"The findings in this report, based on a survey of a representative sample of U.S. adults, offer a national perspective on the association between sleep practices and other health-related behaviors in the U.S. adult population. The findings presented here suggest that U.S. adults who usually slept less than 6 hours were more likely than adults who slept 7 to 8 hours to engage in certain health risk behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, having five or more drinks in a day, engaging in no leisure-time physical activity, and being obese). In many cases, adults who usually slept 9 hours or more were also at increased risk of engaging in these unhealthy behaviors. The associations between sleep and other behaviors are complex, and the directions of causality cannot be determined with the cross-sectional data used in this analysis. Additional analyses are needed to identify the causal directions of these relationships, as well as to identify factors, such as poverty or educational attainment, that may influence sleep and its associated factors. Despite these limitations, the findings presented here provide important information about the potential relevance of discussing health risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and obesity with patients who seek medical advice for sleep concerns."

Here's the link:

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