Too Much Sleep, Sitting Around, Can Mean Early Death

In a recent study involving participants ages 45 and over, results suggest that sleeping for more than nine hours a night in combination with sitting for long periods during the day can create conditions leading to early death. This is especially so when exercise is not a routine part of one’s lifestyle.

The study was able to calculate that people are four times more likely to die early if they sleep too much, sit too much, and don’t exercise enough.

The Specifics

The specific measurement related to too much sitting was more than 7 hours a day and for too little exercise was less 150 minutes a week. This study adds to a growing body of evidence developed over the past several years which shows how too much sitting has negative health consequences.

Similarly, research into the effect sleep has on health has been a popular field of investigation. However, this new study is the first to combine both factors and look at how they affect human mortality. If too much sleep and sitting are combined with a lack of exercise the negative health effects are tripled.

Researchers conducting the study note that these negative health factors should be taken as seriously as other more well known risks to health such as drinking to many alcoholic beverages or eating unhealthy food.

Far-Reaching Study

The research was designed around more than 23,000 participants, all of whom were aged 45 or older. Researchers took into account well-known health risks such as smoking, high alcohol intake, poor diet, and physical inactivity, and further extended the scope of the research by adding too much sitting time and too much sleep. By taking all these different health risks and looking at them in all their possible combinations, researchers were able to determine which mix of bad health habits had the largest effect on premature death in middle aged adults.

When all the data was analyzed, new deadly combinations that brought on early death became clear. For example, one of the deadliest combinations of lifestyle habits was smoking, high alcohol intake, and too little sleep (less than seven hours a night). Participants engaging in this specific triplicity of behaviors were four times as likely to die early than other people.

The deadliest behavior patterns associated with early death for those 45 years and older were:

  • Physical inactivity and too much sleep
  • Physical inactivity and too much sitting
  • Smoking and high alcohol intake

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Image used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Boris Thaser

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