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Long sleep is at least a marker of future poor health - Dr Michelle Miller

The "increasing wealth of consistently strong evidence would suggest that long sleep is at least a marker of future poor health and indeed may be a ‘warning marker’ which needs to be investigated at the individual level to ascertain if there is an underlying cause", says Dr Michelle Miller of Warwick Medical School's 'Sleep, Health and Society' research programme, following reports that too much sleep may be bad for your health.

The new research follows previous work involving Dr Miller: "This latest study appears to be consistent with our previous study published in 2010 in which we demonstrated a U-shaped relationship between duration of self-reported sleep and all-cause mortality".

Dr Miller's expert comment in full:

Is too much sleep bad for you?

"The question as to whether sleep disturbances predict mortality through causal mechanisms is an important one. This latest study appears to be consistent with our previous study published in 2010 in which we demonstrated a U-shaped relationship between duration of self-reported sleep and all-cause mortality; the risk being significantly higher in both short (12%) and long sleepers (30%).

"Observational epidemiology however, is unable to answer one fundamental question: is sleep a cause, a consequence, or a symptom? Indeed, they may all interact. An important consideration of such studies is that whilst they may adjust for known poor health at baseline it is impossible to adjust for undiagnosed conditions.

"Nevertheless, the increasing wealth of consistently strong evidence would suggest that long sleep is at least a marker of future poor health and indeed may be a ‘warning marker’ which needs to be investigated at the individual level to ascertain if there is an underlying cause. Further studies are required to explore the possibly underlying mechanisms and to develop public information and policy with regards to sleep and wellbeing."

7 August 2018

Contact:

Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk
M: +44(0)7785433155