Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
Lack of Sleep or Too Much Sleep Puts You at Risk?
Posted in Acne by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Apr 29, 2008

Is too much or too little sleep a risk factor for death? Many patients asked me about this study after they heard it on the news. Well it looks like BOTH can be. At a conference of the American Heart Association this month Dr Cappuccio presented details of a provocative study just published in the Journal Sleep April 3, 2008. ( What this study showed was that a CHANGE in sleep duration during midlife was a risk factor for death; both for too much and too little sleep.

Here are the details: Over 10,000 British civil servants aged 35-55 were followed for about 20 years to answer the question of whether lack of sleep carries a price in terms of mortality.

FINDINGS: Death from cardiovascular disease was 2.4 fold higher in those who slept an average of 6-8 hours a night at baseline BUT cut their sleep to 5 hours a night over the next 5 years as compared to those who stayed with 6-8 hours. Short sleep duration is known to be associated with high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes all of which increase risk of death from heart disease so there isn't much mystery here. The surprising finding, however, was that the study subjects who increased their sleep duration from 7-8 hours at baseline to 9 or more had a 2.1 fold increase in NONCARDIOVASCULAR mortality (death from causes other than heart disease). We don't really know why this is but it has been suggested that there may be possible links between too much sleep and depression and cancer-related fatigue.

What does this mean for you? If you are someone who has gone through a lifestyle change (had a child, changed to a more stressful job) and went from a pattern of 6-8 hours of sleep a night to 5 hours you need to be aware you might be putting yourself at risk. Try to get back to baseline. For those who sleep more than 9 hours a night tune in to why this might be the case for you. Is it mood related? You may want to touch base with your healthcare provider to report your increased requirement for sleep.

Dr O.


       Send to a Friend     Share This

CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: Acne  •  ADHD / ADD  •  Adoption  •  Alcoholism  •  Alzheimer's Disease  •  Anemia  •  Anger Management  •  Angina  •  Antiphospholipid Syndrome  •  Anxiety  •  Arrhythmias  •  Arteriosclerosis  •  Arthritis  •  Asthma  •  Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)  •  Back Pain  •  Bereavement  •  Bipolar Disorder  •  Breakups & Divorce  •  Breast Cancer  •  Career Changes  •  Caregivers  •  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  •  Celiac Disease  •  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  •  Chronic Pain  •  Cocaine Addiction & Recovery  •  Colds & Flu  •  College Stress  •  Coming Out  •  Congenital Heart Disease  •  COPD & Emphysema  •  Coronary Heart Disease  •  Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis  •  Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  •  Degenerative Disc Disease  •  Degenerative Joint Disease  •  Depression  •  Depression Supporters  •  Diabetes Type 1  •  Diabetes Type 2  •  Diets & Weight Maintenance  •  Dizziness & Vertigo  •  Eating Disorders  •  Eczema  •  Endometriosis  •  Environmental Allergies  •  Epilepsy & Seizures  •  Female Sexual Issues  •  Fibromyalgia  •  Gastric Bypass Surgery  •  Gastritis  •  GERD & Heartburn  •  Gout  •  Heart Attack  •  Heart Failure  •  Hepatitis C  •  Hiatal Hernia  •  High Blood Pressure  •  High Cholesterol  •  HIV  •  Hyperthyroidism  •  Hypothyroidism  •  Infertility  •  Insomnia  •  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  •  Lupus  •  Migraine Headaches  •  MRSA  •  Multiple Myeloma  •  Multiple Sclerosis (MS)  •  Obesity  •  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)  •  Osteoporosis  •  Panic Attacks  •  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)  •  Post Partum Depression  •  Seasonal Affective Disorder  •  Sleep Apnea  •  Tinnitus  •  TMJ

TOTAL COMMENTS: 11 - View All Comments »

Add a Comment
Displaying comments 11-1 of 11
What if you never slept?
I spent the first 48 years of my life sleeping between 0 and 5 hours a night.
It is only since I have been taking seroquel (for about 6 months now) that I sleep about 8 hours a night.
Is it a good thing that I am sleeping?
By shen  Jun 03, 2008
Will you post this same topic here...

By petitep  May 13, 2008
The long term Nurses' Health Study on sleep and mortality
By Ziff  May 10, 2008
Ali5air: If you have a medical condition that requires you to get some good long restorative sleeps (like the 12 hours you describe) I think thats fine
Dr O.
By DrOrrange  May 09, 2008
This is very scary for I have Sleep apnea, and have been struggling to sleep for a very long time, Now I find out after sleep test, I have never really been sleep at all, I stop breathing 32 times an hour, and Sats, drop down in low 80's. Starting to use C-pap, but I realize now it is not going to be a quick response, I know my sleep plays a role in my Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain, and Depression problems, Thanks for sharing this info doc, God bless, love.....S
By sharkdlzl  May 09, 2008
hmmm this does not bode so well for me as I seem to fluctuate between getting too much sleep and insomnia... I knew there were some serious concerns and consequences to this but did not realize exactly how much so!
By IrishStorm  May 09, 2008
CFS and ? Too Much Sleep ?
I read yoy article on Lack of Sleep or Too Much Sleep Puts You at Risk?
As I have a mosquito viral induced rapid onset CFS my question is I have to have @12 hours sleep in 24 otherwise I will "body crash" sometimes severly. Is there any stats or can you comment?
At least I'm not stuck in bed for months like I used to be three years ago.

By Ali5tair  May 09, 2008
I have always needed 8-9 hours of sleep as a baseline. When I jumped to the need for 12 hours of sleep or more per night, I knew something was wrong. Sure enough after numerous tests, I had mono and they also found that I had mitral valve regurge.
By GraceAnn  May 08, 2008
Absolutely fascinating. At one point, I had orthostatic blood pressure, doctor put me on medication and my systolic dropped to the 90s, couldn't do anything. Finally, some freak at the health food store told me that not getting enough sleep raised blood pressure and voila! Went off the meds, blood pressure still fluctuates a bit, but not as much, now that I'm serious about getting enough sleep.

Another thought: My mom always got about 4 hours of sleep a night, and wound up with Parkinsons. My aunt wondered if it was because she never slept enough, which we found clueless and vaguely insulting... but now, we are not so sure. Mom and I wonder (on the days when she can still talk) whether maybe this could have been a factor, or caused the Parkinsons to happen sooner.

I now work longer hours than I did three years ago... but I don't have to get to work until 10:30, and I haven't used an alarm clock in two years. I do feel healthier, blood pressure is lower, post phlebetic syndome from DVT is better.
By Catalyzt  May 08, 2008
This is very interesting. Thanks Dr. O!
By DaveJolley  May 07, 2008
hmmm, so i guess since I need about 47 hours of sleep a night, and always have, I should be OK.
By Lee  May 07, 2008
Got a Question?
My Fans
(757 Discussion Topics)
(3,869 Discussion Topics)
(1,589 Discussion Topics)
(27,447 Discussion Topics)
Alzheimer's Disease
(2,507 Discussion Topics)
(447 Discussion Topics)
Anger Management
(2,281 Discussion Topics)
(100 Discussion Topics)
Antiphospholipid Syndrome
(201 Discussion Topics)
(27,682 Discussion Topics)
(296 Discussion Topics)
(25 Discussion Topics)
(1,450 Discussion Topics)
(1,708 Discussion Topics)
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
(2,541 Discussion Topics)
Back Pain
(2,949 Discussion Topics)
(10,683 Discussion Topics)
Bipolar Disorder
(98,452 Discussion Topics)
Breakups & Divorce
(82,750 Discussion Topics)
Breast Cancer
(1,251 Discussion Topics)
Career Changes
(445 Discussion Topics)
(1,939 Discussion Topics)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
(259 Discussion Topics)
Celiac Disease
(1,650 Discussion Topics)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(5,736 Discussion Topics)
Chronic Pain
(18,149 Discussion Topics)
Cocaine Addiction & Recovery
(1,339 Discussion Topics)
Colds & Flu
(62 Discussion Topics)
College Stress
(922 Discussion Topics)
Coming Out
(1,431 Discussion Topics)
Congenital Heart Disease
(115 Discussion Topics)
COPD & Emphysema
(8,745 Discussion Topics)
Coronary Heart Disease
(224 Discussion Topics)
Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis
(5,947 Discussion Topics)
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
(3,003 Discussion Topics)
Degenerative Disc Disease
(969 Discussion Topics)
Degenerative Joint Disease
(73 Discussion Topics)
(123,940 Discussion Topics)
Depression Supporters
(1,206 Discussion Topics)
Diabetes Type 1
(810 Discussion Topics)
Diabetes Type 2
(4,273 Discussion Topics)
Diets & Weight Maintenance
(8,864 Discussion Topics)
Dizziness & Vertigo
(886 Discussion Topics)
Eating Disorders
(15,957 Discussion Topics)
(786 Discussion Topics)
(7,527 Discussion Topics)
Environmental Allergies
(453 Discussion Topics)
Epilepsy & Seizures
(2,212 Discussion Topics)
Female Sexual Issues
(1,309 Discussion Topics)
(36,784 Discussion Topics)
Gastric Bypass Surgery
(36,679 Discussion Topics)
(1,526 Discussion Topics)
GERD & Heartburn
(1,386 Discussion Topics)
(158 Discussion Topics)
Heart Attack
(838 Discussion Topics)
Heart Failure
(734 Discussion Topics)
Hepatitis C
(18,497 Discussion Topics)
Hiatal Hernia
(262 Discussion Topics)
High Blood Pressure
(995 Discussion Topics)
High Cholesterol
(363 Discussion Topics)
(1,802 Discussion Topics)
(638 Discussion Topics)
(5,328 Discussion Topics)
(23,446 Discussion Topics)
(2,711 Discussion Topics)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
(2,768 Discussion Topics)
(6,088 Discussion Topics)
Migraine Headaches
(2,647 Discussion Topics)
(577 Discussion Topics)
Multiple Myeloma
(495 Discussion Topics)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
(17,578 Discussion Topics)
(5,055 Discussion Topics)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
(5,785 Discussion Topics)
(345 Discussion Topics)
Panic Attacks
(4,938 Discussion Topics)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
(4,826 Discussion Topics)
Post Partum Depression
(408 Discussion Topics)
Seasonal Affective Disorder
(566 Discussion Topics)
Sleep Apnea
(1,147 Discussion Topics)
(3,573 Discussion Topics)
(902 Discussion Topics)