Men who are chronic insomniacs or sleep for short durations are at an increased risk of death, says a new study.
"We believe that cumulatively these findings will increase the awareness among physicians and scientists that insomnia should be diagnosed early and treated appropriately," said principal investigator Alexandros N. Vgontzas at Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa.
Compared to men without insomnia who slept for six hours or more, men with chronic insomnia who slept for less than six hours were four times more likely to die during the 14-year follow-up period.
The researchers took all factors like body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, depression, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension and diabetes into account.
Sleep duration was measured objectively by polysomnography, and the presence of chronic insomnia was defined by a complaint of insomnia with duration of at least one year.
Earlier studies have shown that chronic insomnia with short sleep duration is associated with deficits in neurocognitive function and increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Insomniacs who slept less than six hours and were diabetic or hypertensive at baseline had a much higher mortality risk than short-sleeping insomniacs without diabetes or hypertension.
The authors cautioned that six hours of sleep is not recommended as the optimum sleep duration for the general population.
Also, it is unclear from the study why the mortality risk was increased in men but not in women.
The study is published in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP. (ANI)