Men with insomnia are four times more likely to die early.
Men with severe insomnia are four times more likely to suffer an early death, a study has found. Researchers followed 741 late middle-aged men over a 14 year period, four per cent of whom had chronic insomnia.
Those men who suffered from the condition were 4.3 times more likely to have died over that period than the others.
Men who had hypertension or Type Two diabetes were seven times more likely to have died.
But there was no increase in mortality among the eight per cent of 1,000 women in the study who had chronic insomnia, defined as not being able to sleep regularly for more than six hours a night, for at least a year.
Alexandros Vgontzas, professor of psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, said: “The primary finding of our study is that insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is associated with significant mortality in men.
“Until now no study has demonstrated that insomnia is associated with mortality.”
The increased mortality rates for men were found after the results had been adjusted to take into account the participants’ other risk factors, such as their body mass indices (BMI), whether they smoked, how much alcohol they drank, and depression.
This indicates that insomnia itself could be causing early deaths, rather than being a proxy for something else at work. However, the research did not propose that there was a causal link.
They concluded that the study, published today (WED) in the journal Sleep, “suggests that the treatment of insomnia in people with impaired physical health should be a medical priority.”
They had no explanation about why there was no increased mortality among women, but proposed it could simply be due to the methodology used.
On average the women were three years younger than the men and they were only followed for 10 years rather than 14.