It's natural. You're the Dad of an active young daughter who stayed up late three nights in a row working on that crunch project, and feeling very sleep-deprived by the end of it. In your head, you promise to make up for it by sleeping in over the weekend.
That is, until Saturday morning and said young daughter jumps into your bed wanting breakfast. And brings the slobbering, four-legged 65-pound weapon of mass destruction, named Petunia, with her. Sounds like an all-too-typical scenario played out in homes all across the world, and a warm, fuzzy one at that.
But what happens when that sleep deprivation worsens over time and, coupled with poor health habits, evolves into insomnia once you reach boomerhood? Men may pay a huge price for burning the midnight oil over the long haul, according to a Penn State College of Medicine study.
After tracking the health of 1,000 women (average age 47) and 741 men (average age 50), following a comprehensive sleep study, for 10 and 14 years, respectively, 14 percent of patients (248) had died. Here's the real kicker: Forty-two percent more men died over the course of the study than did women, translating to a 51.1 percent mortality rate among male insomniacs who slept less than six hours a night. Even worse, throw hypertension or diabetes into the mix, and the mortality risks associated with insomnia explode.
If any of this sounds vaguely familiar and disturbing to you, check out our checklist of helpful sleep tips we posted last year, and go see your doctor soon.
Sleep, Vol. 33, No. 9, pp. 1159-1164, September 1, 2010
EurekAlert September 1, 2010