Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sleeping for less than six hours may cause early death, study finds

I believe strongly in the need for balance between work rest and play. I just heard about a study that has linked too much or too little sleep to a chance of an early death. Thought I'd log it hear as a reference I want to build on in time. It's not the first piece of research to show this but it's a meta study from a reliable source.

While simply showing a definite link between chance of mortality and sleep doesn't prove anything, there could be multiple reasons for this, simply that ill people generally sleep a lot or little. Not exactly surprising. But I do wonder if there are underlying trends that go back to the balance between work rest and play.

I say this because I believe we evolved to need balance because I think these forces are what moulded us. I think our bodies depend on each as feedback mechanisms to keep us in balance. We need activity such as work and play to break down our bodies and minds and signal how strong they need to be. This fuels our sleep when we rebuild. If sleep isn't given long enough for reparation then surely we'll slowly develop more and more cracks in our infrastructure. That could be part of the explanation of why inadequate sleep leads to problems.

But what about too much sleep? Surely that would mean all cracks would be fixed. It could do or it could mean that your recovery process isn't able to function properly and needs more time. It could be that the sleep is broken up and not high quality. ?The body doesn't just fix itself instantly. It takes time to get in full swing. So broken sleep might not get enough quality sleep to fix everything.

I also feel sleep needs training much like any other body process or system. If it's given too long then the process gets lazy and doesn't do a proper job. This is a very un specific explanation but thinking of sleep as something that needs to be trained helps me think of it like any other bodily system and process and makes me think differently about it.
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