Dr. Park’s recent blog in his Sleep-Breathing Disorders Forum, titled “Do you sleep like a rock?, touched on a very important concept that I call the eight hour sleep myth. We have been told for years that more sleep is better and we need at least eight hours of sleep sleep to stay healthy. However, as Dr. Park noted, studies have shown that if your sleep duration is too short or too long, you'll have a higher likelihood of having heart disease or depression later in life.
In fact, numerous studies involving millions of people have now proven that 7 hours of sleep is associated with the greatest health and longevity. Although sleeping less than 7 hours is associated with increased health problems, sleeping longer than 7 hours is associated with more health problems than short sleep. This relationship holds true for not only heart disease and depression but also mortality rates, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol.
The bottom line: We don’t have to worry about getting eight hours of sleep for our health. This is why many sleep specialists now recommend that most adults need between six to eight hours of sleep- but some may need less or more.
Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs