Too Much Sleep for Older Women Raises Mortality Risk

Nine or more hours' sleep a day raises risk of death from all causes except cancer

THURSDAY, Mar. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who report napping daily or sleeping nine or more hours in a 24-hour period are at increased risk of mortality from all causes, with the exception of cancer, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Katie L. Stone, Ph.D., of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a study of 8,101 women aged 69 and older who completed a sleep habits questionnaire and who were followed-up for seven years.

Daily napping was associated with a 44 percent higher level of all-cause mortality versus women who did not nap, with a 58 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 59 percent higher risk of death from causes except cardiovascular disease and cancer, the investigators found. Even in healthy women the association persisted, and those who slept nine to 10 hours in any 24-hour period were at higher risk than those who slept eight to nine hours, the researchers report.

"Because excessive sleep suggests that nighttime sleep is disrupted, interventions to treat sleep disorders and improve sleep quality in older women may reduce mortality risk," the authors write. "Future research using comprehensive and objective measures of sleep are needed to elucidate whether specific disorders, such as sleep apnea, contribute to these relationships."

Two of the study authors report financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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