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Can less sleep lead to a longer life?

Only sleeping five hours a night? You may live longer than your friends.

Only sleeping five hours a night? You may live longer than your friends.

A study done at the University of California, San Diego has found that sleeping between five and six-and-a-half hours a night is associated with the greatest longevity, at least in women over 50.


This may be great news for women who aren’t getting as much sleep as they used to, and are worried about it.

A team of scientists did a two-part study. The first stage took place between 1995 and 1999. They monitored the sleeping habits of 459 women between the ages of 50 and 81 living in California. Then, 14 years later, the scientists returned to study the same group. Eighty-six of the women had died; 444 of the original women were located and evaluated.

The researchers were surprised to find that the best survival was in women who slept between five and 6.5 hours a night. Women who slept less than five hours a night or more than 6.5 hours were less likely to be alive at the end of the 14 years.


“This means that women who sleep as little as five to six-and-a-half hours have nothing to worry about since that amount of sleep is evidently consistent with excellent survival,” reported lead author Dr. Daniel Kripke, professor emeritus of psychiatry at UC San Diego school of medicine. The study was published online in the journal Sleep Medicine.

 
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