Getting Good Sleep May Add Years To Your Life


The better your sleep quality, the less is your risk of death from all heart related causes.




Compared to those with less favourable sleep factors, individuals with the most favourable factors were:

  • 30% less likely to die for any reason.
  • 21% less likely to die from heart disease.
  • 19% less likely to die from cancer, and
  • 40% less likely to die of causes other than heart disease or cancer.



Thursday, Feb 23, 2023 – Previous studies have shown a negative relationship between getting too little or too much sleep or sleep apnea - a sleep disorder that causes someone to pause or stop breathing while asleep, on heart health.

Now,  a new research has found that getting good sleep most likely plays a role in supporting heart and overall health—and maybe even how long you live.

The new study found that young people who have better sleep habits are less likely to die early, and that about 8% of deaths from any cause could be attributed to poor sleep patterns.

Speaking as a co-author of the study, Dr. F. Qian, who is a resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School said that the study found “a clear dose-response relationship” between sleep and better heart and overall health. In plain language, this can be expressed to mean that the better your sleep quality, the less is your risk of death from all heart related causes.

Qian adds, “I think these findings emphasize that just getting enough hours of sleep isn’t sufficient. You really have to have restful sleep and not have much trouble falling and staying asleep.”

For their analysis, the researchers looked at data from 172,321 people (average age 50 and 54% women) who participated in a national health survey between 2013 and 2018.

The national health survey is organized each year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics to help gauge the health of the U.S. population and includes questions about sleep and sleep habits.

About two-thirds of study participants self-reported as being White, 14.5% Hispanic, 12.6% Black and 5.5% Asian.

As researchers were able to link participants to national death records through to December 31, 2019, they could examine and follow each individual for a median period of 4.3 years to establish the association between combined sleep factors and all-cause and cause-specific deaths.

8,681 survey participants died within the study period. Of these, 30% were from heart disease, 24% were from cancer and 46% were from other causes.

The deaths from other causes were more likely due to accidents, infections or neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease, Qian said.

The different factors of quality sleep used by the researchers in the survey included:

1) Ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night;

2) Difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week;

3) Trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week;

4) Not using any sleep medication; and

5) Feeling well rested after waking up at least five days a week.

Each factor was assigned zero or one point for each, for a maximum of five points, which indicated the highest quality sleep.

When the researchers controlled for other factors that may have heightened the risk of dying, including lower socioeconomic status, smoking and alcohol consumption and other medical conditions they found that compared to individuals who had zero to one favorable sleep factors, those who had all five were 30% less likely to die for any reason, 21% less likely to die from heart disease, 19% less likely to die from cancer, and 40% less likely to die of causes other than heart disease or cancer.

Life expectancy was 4.7 years greater for men and 2.4 years greater for women who all the five favorable elements of sleep quality compared to those who had none or one.

It is yet unclear why men with all five low-risk sleep factors had double the increase in life expectancy compared with women who had the same quality sleep and the researchers suggest more research be conducted to address this finding.

In summarizing the research finding, Qian said that people with ideal sleep behaviors are more likely to live longer and added that if overall sleep quality is improved and sleep disorders are identified early for treatment, it may be possible to prevent some premature mortality and improve overall long-term health.

He added that patients and their physicians “should be talking about and assessing sleep more often” during clinical encounters in the overall interest of disease management planning.

A limitation of the study is that sleep habits were self-reported and not objectively measured or verified. In addition, no information was available about the types of sleep aid or medicine used or how often or long participants used them.

The findings are scheduled for presentation March 6, 2023 at a joint meeting of the American College of Cardiology and World Congress of Cardiology, in New Orleans and online. Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.



American College of Cardiology, news release, Feb. 23, 2023




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Published: February 7, 2023

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