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Too much or too little sleep is bad for health

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WASHINGTON — Sleeping too much or not enough may have bad effects on health, according to the study appears in the journal BMC Public Health.

Researchers at Seoul National University College of Medicine found that sleeping fewer than six hours a night or more 10 hours a night increases your risk for metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, for example) that increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

For the study researchers compared to individuals who slept six to seven hours per day, men who slept fewer than six hours were more likely to have metabolic syndrome and higher waist circumference.

Women who slept fewer than six hours were more likely to have higher waist circumference. The authors found that nearly 11 percent of men and 13 percent of women slept less than six hours, while 1.5 percent of men and 1.7 percent of women slept more than ten hours.

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“This is the largest study examining a dose-response association between sleep duration and metabolic syndrome and its components separately for men and women. Because we were able to expand the sample of our previous study, we were able to detect associations between sleep and metabolic syndrome that were unnoticed before,” said Claire E Kim, lead author of the study.

“We observed a potential gender difference between sleep duration and metabolic syndrome, with an association between metabolic syndrome and long sleep in women and metabolic syndrome and short sleep in men.”

Based on common definitions, participants were considered to have metabolic syndrome if they showed at least three of the following: elevated waist circumference, high triglyceride levels, low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, hypertension, and high fasting blood sugar. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was just over 29 percent in men and 24.5 percent in women.

The authors suggest that as the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korea is high, it is critical to identify modifiable risk factors such as sleep duration.

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Getting out of the bed early can keep the blues away : Study

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Middle-to-older aged women who are naturally early to bed and early to rise are significantly less likely to develop depression, according to researchers at University of Colorado Boulder and the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The study, that published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research included more than 32,000 female nurses, explored the link between chronotype, or sleep-wake preference, and mood disorders.

It showed that even after accounting for environmental factors like light exposure and work schedules, chronotype – which is in part determined by genetics – appears to mildly influence depression risk.

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“Our results show a modest link between chronotype and depression risk. This could be related to the overlap in genetic pathways associated with chronotype and mood,” said lead author Celine Vetter.

The researchers found that late chronotypes, or night owls, are less likely to be married, more likely to live alone and be smokers, and more likely to have erratic sleep patterns.

After accounting for these factors, they found that early risers still had a 12 – 27 percent lower risk of being depressed than intermediate types. Late types had a 6 percent higher risk than intermediate types (this modest increase was not statistically significant.)

Genetics play a role in determining whether you are an early bird, intermediate type, or night owl, with research showing 12-42 percent heritability. And some studies have already shown that certain genes (including PER2 and RORA), which influence when we prefer to rise and sleep, also influence depression risk.

“Alternatively, when and how much light you get also influences chronotype, and light exposure also influences depression risk. Disentangling the contribution of light patterns and genetics on the link between chronotype and depression risk is an important next step,” Vetter said.

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Vetter stressed that while the study suggested that chronotype was an independent risk factor for depression, it did not mean night owls were doomed to be depressed.

“Being an early type seems to beneficial, and you can influence how early you are” she said. “Try to get enough sleep, exercise, spend time outdoors, dim the lights at night, and try to get as much light by day as possible.”

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