New research suggests that seven is the magic number when it comes to the optimum amount of hours we should be sleeping

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Sleep, and how well we’re doing it, is a topic we all seem to be slightly obsessed with. With many of us persistently haunted by tiredness, cracking the secret to the perfect nights sleep is the holy grail of health.

Extensive new research carried out by Franco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology at the University of Warwick, has made some insightful discoveries. Having analysed sixteen studies of over a million people over a ten year period he found that between six and eight hours shut eye a night is the key to good health.

Cappuccio conducted his study by initially dividing the participants into three categories: those who slept less than six hours, those who slept for between six and eight hours and those who slept for eight hours plus. From this Capuccio found that mortality risk for short sleepers (less than six hours) was 12% more than average and for the longer sleepers (more than 8 hours) it was 30%. Cappuccio concluded therefore that there is a gradual increase in mortality risk for those who fall outside the six-to-eight-hour band. Worryingly, Cappuccio likened this mortality risk to roughly the equivalent of drinking several units of alcohol per day.

However, it is not necessarily time to throw away your alarm clock yet. Cappuccio noted that while the research is comprehensive, the complex nature of studying sleep means that findings should be to some extent taken with a pinch of salt and as with all health related issues only works in combination with other healthy lifestyle choices.

Back to obsessing we go then…