How to live longer: The number of hours of sleep you need to boost life expectancy

The majority of chronic diseases, which shorten your lifespan, can be avoided by a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercising regularly, a good diet and sufficient sleep. But how much sleep do you need?

Researchers from Peking University, China, questioned if sleeping patterns had an effect on cardiovascular events.

They looked at the data of 52,599 healthy participants over a four-year period, identifying four “distinct sleep duration trajectories”.

The scientists labelled them: “normal stable, normal decreasing, low increasing, and low stable”.

Hours of sleep

  • Normal stable: 7.4 to 7 .5 hours of sleep
  • Normal decreasing: 5.5 to 7 hours of sleep
  • Low increasing: 4.9 to 6.9 hours of sleep
  • Low stable: 4.2 to 4.9 hours of sleep

While managing up to seven hours of sleep (the “normal decreasing” group) was “associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality”.

This data suggests that only managing seven hours of sleep per night puts you at an increased chance of earlier death.

The highest risk of CVEs and death was those who only managed around four hours of sleep a night.

In addition, the researchers also noted that “unstable” sleeping patterns – one that varies – was “significantly associated with increased risk of CVEs and all-cause mortality”.


This suggests it’s not only the number of hours you sleep that affects your health, but also sleep hygiene.

Good sleep hygiene refers to waking up and going to bed at the same time, every day.

But what about if you sleep eight hours or more, would that boost life expectancy?

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Dr Daniel Kripe, a researcher from the University of California, probed with the exact same query.

Combining the data from both of these studies, it would seem 7.5 hours of sleep per night is the magical number for longevity.

Any more, or less, and the chances of dying increased alongside higher incidences of heart attacks, strokes or arterial fibrillation.

More studies would need to reveal the same results in order for the hypothesis to increase in validity.

However, these are promising findings – one that may help to boost you life expectancy if you follow suit.



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