Sleep research is an ongoing discovery of facts. While health researchers in other fields of scientific inquiry have made the accumulation of normative data bases their highest priority, this has not occurred in terms of human sleep. As a result, we have only the smallest idea of the range and distribution of human sleep requirements across the population.
We do know that of participants in a nine-year longitudinal study by the California State Department of Health, who stated tht they slept six hours of less a night, 70 percent had a higher mortality rate than those who reported sleeping seven to eight hours. This association remains significant even after conrolling for age, sex, race, physical health status, physical activity, and several other potentially confounding influences.
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Swanson, Jennifer. Sleep Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1999, 3.