Insomnia Sufferers at Increased Risk of Death8 years ago
Posted on Sep 22, 2010, 6 a.m.
Men who suffer from chronic insomnia have been found to have a significantly increased risk of dying from all causes.
Researchers studied the effect of insomnia on mortality in 1000 women and 741 men with an average age of 50 years. Participants provided a comprehensive sleep history, underwent a physical exam, had their sleep evaluated for one night in a sleep laboratory, and were followed-up for 14 years (men) and 10 years (women). 8% of women and 4% of men were found to suffer from chronic insomnia (a complaint of insomnia of at least 12 months duration) and who slept for less than six hours per night. At the end of the study 21% of male participants and 5% of female participants had died. Compared to men without insomnia who slept for six hours or more, men with chronic insomnia who slept for less than six hours were found to be four times more likely to die during the 14-year follow-up period. Adjusting for potential confounders such as body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, depression, and obstructive sleep apnea had little effect on the elevated mortality risk. Chronic insomnia was found to have no significant effect on mortality risk in women; however it is important to note that the follow-up period for women was four years shorter than it was for men. "The primary finding of our study is that insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is associated with significant mortality in men," said principal investigator Alexandros N. Vgontzas, MD, professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. "We believe that cumulatively these findings will increase the awareness among physicians and scientists that insomnia should be diagnosed early and treated appropriately."
Vgontzas AN, Liao D, Pejovic S, Calhoun S, Karataraki M, Basta M, Fernández-Mendoza J, Bixler EO. Insomnia with Short Sleep Duration and Mortality: The Penn State Cohort. Sleep 2010;33:1159-1164.