Sleep duration related to having the metabolic syndrome

Armen Hareyan's picture

A study published in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP is the first known to report that short and long sleepers are more likely to have metabolic syndrome, or a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The study, authored by Martica H. Hall, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues, focused on 1,214 adults between 30-54 years of age.

According to the results, the odds for having the metabolic syndrome increased by more than 45 percent in both short and long sleepers. Short sleep duration was common, with 20 percent of the sample reporting sleep durations of less than six hours per night. In contrast, only eight percent of the sample reported sleep durations of longer than eight hours per night.

"This relationship was strongest in the group of men and women who slept less than six hours per night. On average, the odds of having the metabolic syndrome were nearly doubled in men and women who slept less than six hours, compared to those who slept between seven and eight hours per night," said Dr. Hall.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night's sleep:

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.

  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.

  • Get a full night's sleep every night.


  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.

  • Do not bring your worries to bed with you.

  • Do not go to bed hungry, but don't eat a big meal before bedtime either.

  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.

  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.

  • Get up at the same time every morning.

Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.