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Sleep disturbances up risk of all-cause mortality

13 Jun 2018

Individuals who report sleep disturbances have a significantly higher age-adjusted mortality, according to the UK Biobank study.

“Sleep disturbances were common in this cohort; only one-quarter reported never/rarely having sleep disturbances,” the authors said.

Of the participants, 24.1 percent reported “never/rarely” for the frequency of sleep disturbances, while 47.7 percent and 28.2 percent reported “sometimes” and “usually,” respectively. Risk of all-cause mortality was significantly greater in those who sometimes (hazard ratio [HR], 1.07; 95 percent CI, 1.02–1.12) or usually (HR, 1.27; 1.21–1.34) had sleep disturbances than in those who never/rarely had any.

In addition, risk of cancer mortality was also higher in participants who sometimes (HR, 1.09; 1.02–1.15) or usually (HR, 1.24; 1.16–1.33) had sleep disturbances. Of note, risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality was also elevated among individuals who usually had sleep disturbances (HR, 1.17; 1.05–1.30).

“Reducing sleep disturbances could have a significant public health impact,” the authors said.

A prospective, population-based cohort study, the UK Biobank was designed to examine risk factors for major diseases of middle and older age. It included 502,642 participants aged 37–73 years (53 percent women) from across the UK, with a mean follow-up time of 6.5 years.

All-cause cancer and CVD mortality were the primary outcomes. Primary exposure was sleep disturbances, based on the questions, “Do you have trouble falling asleep at night or do you wake up in the middle of the night.” Responses were never/rarely, sometimes or usually. Cox proportional hazard models were used adjusting for age, sex, smoking, body mass index and depression.

“Inadequate sleep has been associated with increased prevalence and incidence of a variety of diseases, including diabetes, CVD and cancer,” the authors noted. “Some characteristics of sleep, such as sleep duration, have also been associated with increased mortality risk.”

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