donation
To request Mental Health
Services or to access Mental
Health Crisis Services Call:
1-800-375-4357

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Most Americans Want to End Seasonal Time Changes: SurveyPandemic Putting Americans Under Great Mental Strain: PollAHA News: Your Pandemic Hobby Might Be Doing More Good Than You KnowHazardous Ingredients Make 'Smart Drug' Supplements a Not-So-Smart BuyAmericans Are Cutting Back on Sugary DrinksToo Much or Too Little Sleep Bad for Your BrainA Good Workout Could Boost Your Thinking for Up to 2 HoursWho's Most Likely to Binge Eat Amid Pandemic?AHA News: In These Tough Times, Focus on ResilienceER Visits for E-Scooter Injuries Nearly Double in One YearWhy Some Gifts Are Better-Received Than OthersBest Ways to Beat the HeatEducation Benefits the Brain Over a LifetimeAnother COVID Hazard: False InformationSocial Distancing? Your Paycheck Plays a RoleIs Your Home Workstation Hurting You?Many Americans Pause Social Media as National Tensions RiseAfter Lockdown, Ease Back Into ExerciseFor a Longer Life, Any Exercise Is Good Exercise: StudyUnder 50 and Overweight? Your Odds for Dementia Later May RiseMore Americans Turning to Artificial Sweeteners, But Is That a Healthy Move?Don't Forget Good Sleep Habits During SummerExpert Tips to Help You Beat the HeatCould Vegetables Be the Fountain of Youth?AHA News: Enjoy a Nap, But Know the Pros and ConsCoffee: Good for You or Not?Keep Flossing: Study Ties Gum Disease to Higher Cancer RiskKnow Your Burn Risks This SummerYour Guide to Safer Dining During the PandemicGetting Your Protein From Plants a Recipe for LongevityHow to Protect Yourself From the Sun's Harmful UV RaysAHA News: Why Stay in Touch While Keeping Distant? It's Only HumanWorking Off Your Quarantine Weight GainAs REM Sleep Declines, Life Span SuffersFollow Exercise Guidelines and You'll Live Longer, Study SaysBiases Mean Men Dubbed 'Brilliant' More Often Than WomenFireworks Are Bad News for Your LungsPandemic Means More Backyard Fireworks This Year -- And More DangerA Safer 4th Is One Without Backyard FireworksWhen Can Sports Fans Safely Fill Stadiums Again?AHA News: How to Stay Safe, Healthy and Cool This Summer Despite COVID-19 ThreatWhat Behaviors Will Shorten Your Life?Heat Kills More Americans Than Previously ThoughtDespite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under LockdownDon't Be a 'Hot-Head': Study Suggests Head Overheating Impairs ThinkingWhy Exercise? Researchers Say It Prevents 3.9 Million Deaths a YearWorking From Home? Posture, Ergonomics Can Make It SafeWant to Travel During the Pandemic? Here's What to ConsiderHealthier Meals Could Mean Fewer Strokes, Heart AttacksWhat Difference Do Calorie Counts on Menus Make?
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Weight Loss

As REM Sleep Declines, Life Span Suffers

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jul 7th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Deep sleep is essential for good health, and too little of it may shorten your life, a new study suggests.

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is when dreams occur and the body repairs itself from the ravages of the day. For every 5% reduction in REM sleep, mortality rates increase 13% to 17% among older and middle-aged adults, researchers report.

"Numerous studies have linked insufficient sleep with significant health consequences. Yet, many people ignore the signs of sleep problems or don't allow enough time to get adequate sleep," said lead researcher Eileen Leary. She is a senior manager of clinical research at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

"In our busy, fast-paced lives, sleep can feel like a time-consuming nuisance. This study found in two independent cohorts that lower levels of REM sleep was associated with higher rates of mortality," she said.

How REM sleep is associated with risk of death isn't known, Leary said. Also, this study couldn't prove that poor REM causes death, only that it's associated with an increased risk of dying early.

"The function of REM is still not well understood, but knowing that less REM is linked to higher mortality rates adds a piece to the puzzle," she said.

It's still too early to make recommendations about improving REM sleep based on this study, Leary said.

"As we learn more about the relationship, we can begin looking at ways to optimize REM. But that is outside the scope of this project," she said.

For the study, Leary and her colleagues included more than 2,600 men, average age 76, who were followed for a median of 12 years. They also collected data on nearly 1,400 men and women, average age 52, who were part of another study and were followed for a median of 21 years.

Poor REM sleep was tied to early death from any cause as well as death from cardiovascular and other diseases, the researchers found.

REM sleep's links to mortality were similar in both groups.

"REM sleep appears to be a reliable predictor of mortality and may have other predictive health values," Leary said. "Strategies to preserve REM may influence clinical therapies and reduce mortality risk, particularly for adults with less than 15% of REM sleep."

Previous studies have focused on total sleep time and have shown that both not enough total sleep and too much total sleep can be associated with increased risk of dying early, said Dr. Michael Jaffee, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

"When we sleep, we go through different stages to include REM sleep. REM describes our eye movements during this stage and is also the state associated with when we have dreams," he said.

This study shows that it is not just total sleep time that may be important, but assuring the right balance of the different stages of sleep, said Jaffee, who co-authored an editorial that accompanied the study.

Neurologists need to look for conditions affecting patients, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that can reduce REM, and doctors should also be aware that certain medications they prescribe can reduce REM, he said.

The study also opens up additional avenues for research to determine if scientists should focus on treatments that affect not just total sleep but target sleep stage balance, Jaffee said.

"This study shows yet another reason for the importance of proper sleep time -- recommendations for adults is seven hours -- and a good balance of sleep stages by assuring that any possible conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that can cause a reduction in REM be evaluated and managed," he said.

"Anyone with difficulty with sleeping or with loud snoring can benefit from discussing this with their physician," Jaffee added.

The report was published online July 6 in JAMA Neurology.

More information

For more on sleep, head to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.