Too much sleeping and sitting could be hazardous for health


A study published this week has bad news for those that like a lie-in. Sleeping for more than nine hours a night when combined with sitting for more than seven hours during the day could be bad for your health, according to the Sax Institute, Australia. 

Although the effects of sleep and sitting have been studied previously, this is the first study to look at how the combination of these lifestyle factors might act together.

To assess the effect of these factors the research team looked at health behaviors of more than 230,000 Australians taking part in the 45 and Up Study, Australia’s largest ongoing study to investigate the health of the country’s population as it ages.

The team looked at behaviors already known to increase the risk of death and disease, such as smoking, high alcohol intake, poor diet, and lack of exercise, and added in sitting too much and sleeping too much or too little, to see how various combinations of these behaviors could together affect a person’s risk of premature death.

The results of the study, published in the journal PLOS medicine, found that the combination of too much sleep and too much sitting was even riskier for health when combined with a lack of exercise, creating a ’triple whammy’ effect, and making a person four times more likely to die earlier than a person without these lifestyle habits.

Another “triple whammy” threat found was smoking, plus high alcohol intake, plus lack of sleep (less than 7 hours a night), which also increased the risk of early death by 4 times as much.

In addition the study also found other harmful behavior combinations could double the risk of early death, including:

  • Being physically inactive + too much sleep
  • Being physically inactive + too much sitting
  • Smoking + high alcohol intake

Commenting on the results the study’s co-author Professor Adrian Bauman said, “The take-home message from this research—for doctors, health planners and researchers—is that if we want to design public health programs that will reduce the massive burden and cost of lifestyle-related disease we should focus on how these risk factors work together rather than in isolation,” with senior researcher Dr Melody Ding adding, “Our study shows that we should really be taking these behaviors together as seriously as we do other risk factors such as levels of drinking and unhealthy eating patterns.”

News source: AFP

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