UCL News


UCL in the News: A Good Night's Sleep

6 December 2007

The amount of sleep you get may endanger your life.

That's the conclusion reached by a new study conducted in Britain at UCL.

Research has long documented that people may pay for shorter slumber with a shorter life span. …

In the new study, Jane Ferrie [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health] questioned 7,700 British civil servants about their sleep habits over an eight-year period and found that those who slept six to eight hours nightly at the beginning of the study but decreased the amount of rest they got by the end of it increased their risk of dying from heart disease 110%. …

Ferrie found that short sleepers who slept each night for five hours or less did indeed decrease their overall risk of dying within eight years when they snagged two to three more hours of sleep a night by the end of the study. But once they started piling up too much sleep, crossing the line to nine hours or more daily, the risk of dying - not from heart disease but from other causes - rises the same 110%. Too few subjects in Ferrie's study fell into this category for her to offer explanations of the findings, but others will undoubtedly investigate how excessive sleep can contribute to health problems. For now, aim for the six-to-eight-hour sweet spot and stay there. …

Alice Park, 'Time'