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People who sleep for more than eight hours a day may be at risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) or premature death, according to a recent study.
A team of researchers from various institutions asked about the sleeping habits of 116,000 adults who were 35 to 70 years old and were from 21 countries. The team followed up on the participants for about eight years and found that, during this period, 4,381 people died and 4,365 had CVD.
The researchers also observed that people who slept for more than 10 hours a day were 41% more likely to suffer from CVD or die early. Those who slept for nine to 10 hours, on the other hand, are 17% more likely to have these health problems.
Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that the optimum sleep duration for adults is six to eight hours per day. The study could not tell how exactly oversleeping is related to CVD or premature death. Nonetheless, lead author Chuangshi Wang stressed that excessive sleeping might be a sign of health issues linked with CVD or early death. For this reason, Wang hopes that the study’s findings will encourage doctors to ask about their patients’ sleeping habits and see how these affect their patients’ health.
Francesco Cappuccio [fran-CHES-ko kahp-POO-cho], a cardiovascular medicine expert who is not part of the study, supported Wang’s statement. He said that sleeping for long periods of time would not cause diseases or death, but it is the other way around. That is, having an underlying illness might make people feel too weak and cause them to oversleep.