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September 1st, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Study: Insomnia is deadly for men

Insomnia kills. That’s the central finding of a large study looking at men who complained of chronic insomnia and slept fewer than six hours a night.

Men with insomnia were more than four times as likely to die as “good sleepers” during the 14-year study, published Wednesday in the journal Sleep.

Add hypertension or diabetes, and men with insomnia were seven times as likely to die as those not suffering from sleep problems, the study found.

“We were expecting to find something, but we were surprised by the magnitude of the findings,” said lead investigator Dr. Alexandros N. Vgontzas, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Self-reported chronic insomnia plus lack of sleep among women did not result in more deaths among women.

The study did not elaborate why, but Vgontzas said he sees two possibilities: Insomnia among women could be less severe, or the study did not follow women long enough. The study began looking at women later than men and followed them for only ten years, not 14.

The study randomly chose 1,741 people in central Pennsylvania, 1,000 women and 741 men, with an average age of 50. Of that group, 8 percent women and 4 percent of men complained of chronic insomnia and slept fewer than six hours when they were measured in a sleep laboratory.

The study adjusted for such factors as age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, depression and obstructive sleep apnea.

Among the men who did not have insomnia, 9 percent died. Of those who complained of insomnia but slept more than six hours, 13 percent died. Among the insomniacs who slept fewer than 6 hours, 51 percent died.

Previous studies have linked lack of sleep with learning and memory problems and increased risks for diabetes and hypertension.

Although the study places those who sleep six or more hours in the “good sleepers” category, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends seven or eight hours of sleep a night. Vgontzas said the six hours was used for the purposes of the study and not to imply six hours is sufficient.


soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. BAAL

    How did this turn into a Man vs Woman hate fest? No wonder you can't sleep. You're fighting all night!!

    September 1, 2010 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. kyle campion

    I haven't read all of these comments, but has anyone pointed out that the death rate, regardless of age, sex, race or any other socio-economic factor is 100%?

    September 1, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. BAAL

    Kathy, what are you doing with that knife??

    September 1, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. KATHY'S DAD

    Come on, baby girl. Shhh...you'll wake your mother.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RUSH

    LMFAO
    This is the best thread ever – my day was horrible til I looked thru here.
    Did we ever get to find out if Kathy's daughters are hot?

    September 1, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathy's alter ego

      Tune in tomorrow, big boy! The saga continues...

      September 1, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  6. neil

    worst write up ever. died? we all die! Die in relation to what? early, by a certain age, in fatal accidents?

    September 1, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Read articles on improved sleep methods

    Occasionally CNN and MSN health sites provide useful information pertaining to sleep problems.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lynne

    CNN and MSN health websites occasionally have articles on how to improve sleep habits. Someone realized that there was more of a problem with insomnia than thought. Hope insomniacs find some useful information. On a continued basis, less than 4 hours a night might not be enough your body to manage on. If that is all that you can manage, at least try to make it as stress-free as possible.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. J Boozer

    Every one of you that posted is nuts...The government has bases on the moon, Mars and Venus..They lie to you everyday (expert liar=Obama)..Go to sleep sheeples...

    September 1, 2010 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Colin

    7 Times more likely to die huh? So that means that some of them just won't die? I hate it when that happens, those damn good sleepers just not dying. Don't they know they are all supposed to eventually. Well, at least it isn't going to shorten my life expectancy just increase the likelihood that I will die at some point in my life.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. overachievr

    Well what a bunch hormones floating around this issue.
    here are the facts for todays humans.
    1) some women are as capable as men.
    2) some men are lousy at being a man because they choose to, same for women

    Physically men are more superior than women, again if they choose to be.
    Back to the sleep issue:
    I get roughly 6 to seven hrs of sleep with medication.
    Have several physical ailments that prevent good sleep.
    My wife can sleep 10 or more hours and take a 2 or 4 hour nap anytime.
    WHY?
    I work my but off to provide food, clothing and shelter, take care of all issues reagrding the aforementioned by decree as this is what society has pounded into our heads.
    My wife has only to concern herself with deciding what to cook, laundry, and ligtly clean the house. works part time for her EXTRA spending money.
    The true variable that men vs women issue is how much responsability each has for their role in the realtionship.
    Men typically cary the largest burdens of providing and maintaining the ability to live for the long term and women are more responsable for the day to day nuturing activities.
    Men are under more stress than women,we carry a huge burden of being the sole responsable party for providing the essential living standards ( as set by "our" women) ( go figure, we succumb to them for the privelage of the mating ritual)
    So as far as I can see it is a personal issue based on the apptiitude of being able and willing to take charge in being a provider. so what makes men and women "willing" to perform.
    I have 5 sisters who can outwork most men I know, WHY because they have the desire to achieve, get things done and take responsability for their actions.
    I believe it all has to do with how you grew up, pampered ( enabled) by mom or hammerd by the father or in most case left in front of the babysitting TV or computer.
    Its no wonder we have such a huge disconnect between men and women and how we view our roles.
    It's all about what you value in life and what you want to get out of life and how hard are you willing to work to get those things.
    Men die sooner because they carry way too much stress and women llive longer because thay can typically choose what they want to do there by eliminating most the stress.

    September 1, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ligbot

    I dont really get the point. Everybody dies. The author almost makes it sound like some people don't die. Like if you get 10 hours per night of sleep then maybe you won't ever die. Is it written funny or is it just me?

    September 1, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. SurveySays

    741 men were studied. 4% complained of insomnia and got less than 6 hours of sleep. That's 29 men. 29 men who are from the same geographic region. Not, perhaps, the world's best basis for generalizing.

    September 1, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. KBoh

    No, they don't die. Its just the severe lack of sleep that makes these men appear to be dead.

    September 1, 2010 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Notsleeping

    Hey, this is great news. Now I can finally get some shut-eye

    September 1, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. frederick

    What a worthless medical report. "Likely to die" of what, car accident on the way to work due to fatigue, heart attack?...

    September 1, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mary

    I think there must be something to this. My dear friend Abraham suffered from insomnia and broken sleep for a long time. He died suddenly in his early 50's and was a seemingly otherwise a quite healthy man until he was stricken.

    September 1, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sara

    Seriously – women are adapted for less sleep. For each child, we go through years of being sleep deprived with no major side effects. Four hours of sleep and we still get up, work out, get the kids and husband out the door, go to work, take care of the house... it needs to get done. My husband would be crying on 4 hours sleep.
    When I have insomnia, it's not stress-related; it's just that my brain is awake. My husband only has insomnia if he's stressed.
    Maybe that's the male-female difference.

    September 1, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jeff

    Good, I will be put out of my misery before long.

    September 1, 2010 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ryan

    hah what a terrible study... everyone dies

    September 1, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jeff

    The reason women don't die from insomnia is when they cannot sleep, its because they are worried about what they are going to wear the next day. Men worry about paying the mortgage.

    September 1, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Joe G

    Their wives might be hogging the blankets. I do not trust corporate sponsored news and I am assuming that this is advertising for sleeping pills disguised as news.

    September 1, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ReeH

      ONly till she hits perimenopause. Then we can let them have the blanket! 🙂

      November 7, 2010 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
  23. Anon

    Statistics can be used to show anything...80% of people know that

    September 1, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ReeH

      Very true indeed!!

      November 7, 2010 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
  24. Kathy's girl friend

    Girl, when are you gonna leave that weak little man? I'm not getting any younger.

    September 1, 2010 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. jgmurphy

    That's the problem with a lot of this "tabloid science." When you look at this insomnia, you don't know whether you're looking at a cause or an effect. perhaps these men have the insomnia BECAUSE of the other health problems and not the other way around. So if someone were insomniac but otherwise healthy, none of these scary statistics would apply to them. I would imagine that certain health conditions could cause sleepless nights. For example, frequent urination, which is a precursor of diabetes, could be responsible for a lot of it. Once you get up to "go" it is sometimes hard to get back to sleep, and so forth. I feel this article could be needlessly alarming.

    September 1, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Stranger

    Google "Tranquila relaxation shots" Awesome remedy for stress and sleeplessness.

    September 1, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kathy's next door neighbor

    Would you two stop fighting so I can get some sleep? Don't make me come over there!

    September 1, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Kathy's dog (male)

    ...And she wonders why I keep running away!

    September 1, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Odalice Feliz

    Men need good sleep and a good wife next to them....

    September 1, 2010 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jean

    Speaking as a woman with chronic insomnia, I have to say that I don't think male/female matters. I only slept 4 hours one night last week (was up late working) and was physically sick the entire next day. Lack of sleep, whether from insomnia or anyting else, hits you harder as you get older. It sucks.

    September 1, 2010 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ReeH

      True.. and for us women, we get a double whammy that starts with perimenopause!! I live with about 6 hours sleep nightly for the last year or so. And not solid 6 hours. Broken up!!

      November 7, 2010 at 10:01 | Report abuse |
  31. WinkyGirl

    Men are said to have many things on their mind such as work, work, and more work! Men are somewhat critical thinkers and complicated but nevertheless study shows that it is women who lives longer. Sleep problems are cause by many things and Dentist may know the reason behind it..http://www.eightywinks.com/how-do-dentists-treat-sleep-problems/

    September 2, 2010 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. WinkyGirl

    http://www.eightywinks.com/how-do-dentists-treat-sleep-problems/

    September 2, 2010 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. WinkyGirl

    http://www.eightywinks.com/kids-underwear-designed-to-help-moms-and-kids-have-a-better-nights-sleep/

    September 2, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. WinkyGirl

    http://www.eightywinks.com/the-10-commandments-of-sleep-hygiene/

    September 2, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Fabiian

    David, Thanks for chiming in. And thknas for pointing out the importance of knowing State laws when it comes to this stuff. I hope each person would take the time to familiarize themselves if they do not know already. Great advice!

    August 2, 2012 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.