(HealthDay News) — Middle-aged adults with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke could be at higher risk for cancer and early death when sleeping less than 6 hours per day, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues used data from 1654 adults (aged 20 to 74 years) participating in the Penn State Adult Cohort (52.5% women and 89.8% white). The association between short sleep duration and risk for mortality from cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRs) and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (CBVDs) was assessed.

The researchers found that risk for all-cause mortality associated with CMR or CBVD was significantly modified by objective sleep duration (P<0.05) and was significantly higher in participants who slept less than 6 hours per day (hazard ratios [HRs], 2.14 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.52 to 3.02] and 3.17 [95% CI, 2.16 to 4.65], respectively). Among participants who slept less than 6 hours, CMR was associated with a 1.83 (95% CI, 1.07 to 3.13) higher risk for CBVD mortality, and CBVD was associated with a 2.92 (95% CI, 1.28 to 6.65) higher risk for cancer mortality. Among participants who slept 6 or more hours, CMR was not significantly associated with CBVD mortality (HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.70 to 2.63) and CBVD was not significantly associated with cancer mortality (HR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.18 to 1.64).

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“Better identification of people with specific sleep issues would potentially lead to improved prevention, more complete treatment approaches, better long-term outcomes, and less health care usage,” Fernandez-Mendoza said in a statement.


Fernandez‐Mendoza J, He F, Vgontzas AN, et al. Interplay of Objective Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases on Cause‐Specific Mortality [published online October 2, 2019]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.119.013043

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