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Studies show how critical sleep is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle

3 new studies show just how critical it is for adults to seek treatment for a sleep illness and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle

DARIEN, IL – Three new studies show just how critical it is for adults to seek treatment for a sleep illness and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

One study of 2,240 adults is the first to examine the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and mortality in Asians. Results show that all-cause mortality risk was 2.5 times higher and cardiovascular mortality risk was more than 4 times higher among people with severe OSA. The results are consistent with previous studies in the U.S. and other countries.

Another study of 2,673 patients in Australia found that untreated OSA is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes in very sleepy men as well as near-misses in men and women. Participants with untreated OSA reported crashes at a rate three times higher than the general community.

That last study examined the relationship between sleep duration and self-rated health in Korean adults. Results show that short sleep duration of 5 hours or less per day and long sleep duration of 9 hours or more per day was associated with poor self-rated health. The results add weight to recent data emphasizing the importance of adequate sleep in physical and mental health.

All three of the studies are in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which is published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The AASM reports that at least 12 to 18 million adults in the U.S. have untreated obstructive sleep apnea, which involves the repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep. OSA is a serious sleep illness that is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and stroke. The most effective treatment option for OSA is CPAP therapy, which helps keep the airway open by providing a stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep.

Most adults need about seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well rested. However, 30 percent of adults in the U.S. regularly get insufficient sleep.

Help for people who have OSA or another sleep problem is available from board certified sleep medicine physicians at more than 2,500 AASM accredited sleep disorders centers.

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