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How Sleeping Overmuch May Cause You to Die Early

Updated on October 20, 2011

Over Eight Hours' Sleep a Night May Lead to Early Death

The question how much sleep you should preferably have every night has been asked by scientists many times over. According to a 2004 experiment, involving 1.1 million people and conducted over a period of 6 years, eight hours of sleep a night may cause you to die early.

A study published by Professor Daniel Kripke at the University of California in 2004 disclosed findings that shook the scientific community. According to an experiment that was conducted over a span of 6 years and involved 1.1 million people, adults who sleep 8 or more hours a night die younger than those who sleep 6 to 7 hours a night.

Kripke's study showed that a significantly larger number of people who slept 8 or more hours - or less than 4 hours - a night died during the 6-year study.

Da Vinci slept 15 minutes every 4 hours.
Da Vinci slept 15 minutes every 4 hours.

Short naps are good for you?

They worked for Da Vinci and Einstein.

There is archaeological evidence to suggest that the 15th century polymath Leonardo da Vinci spent nearly half his life sleeping. Just like Einstein, he frequently took short naps throughout the day, usually 15 minutes every 4 hours.

Is sleeping in good for you?

It worked for Johnson and Pascal.

It was rare for Samuel Johnson, the famous 18th century author and lexicographer to get up before noon. Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher was also known for spending much of his day dozing in bed.

What are some animal sleeping habits?

Elephants that are famous for their long average life-span tend to sleep for only two hours a day. Koalas, on the other hand, sleep for twenty-two hours a day and live only 10 years. Ants never sleep, or if they do, it's only for only a few minutes a day.

Sleeping habits today

In 1900 a normal night’s sleep was nine hours. Today, the average American gets between 8 to 9 hours’ sleep a night, while the average Briton gets 6 to 7.

If you sleep too little though, your sleep deprivation may become the cause of short-term loss of memory, IQ and your reasoning ability.

The average person takes 7 minutes to fall asleep, a fact that leaves us insomniacs wondering what we are doing wrong. Healthy sleepers tend to wake up between 15 and 35 times every night, but they don't remember these. 


Sleep disorders and accidents caused by them

According to modern medicine, there are currently 84 different types of recognized sleep disorders, which include insomnia, narcolepsy (abruptly falling asleep during the day no matter if you are standing or driving a car), excessive snoring, apnea (stopping breathing while asleep), and restless leg syndrome or RLS.

The United Kingdom has about 30 sleep clinics, all of which are constantly overloaded with patients. The United States has thrice that many. 20% of UK motorway accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep. Similar percentage applies in the US.

Those who tend to get anywhere near falling asleep while driving are advised to trap a lock of your hair in the sunroof. The second-best way is said to be eating an apple, which stimulates digestion while providing slow release energy, much more effective than the short-term hit of coffee.

Narcolepsy Dog - Warning: might be disturbing

How much do you sleep a night?

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