University of Sydney senior research fellow Dr. Melody Ding authored a study determining the effects that a combination of bad lifestyle behaviors had on health. Instead of solely focusing on factors already well documented to negatively impact health such as poor diet, smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity, they added sitting for prolonged periods and sleeping more than nine hours a day.
More recent studies have suggested that sleep duration as well as sitting for long periods throughout the day can effect health. Sitting for too long has been associated with damaged telomeres which speed up the aging process.
Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.
The study looked at age and health in 230,000 individuals 45 years of age and older who participated in the study. This was the first study ever to examine the effect of sleep and sitting combined.
The headlines picked up by news outlets regarding this study state that sleeping too long is as dangerous as smoking and drinking and that sleeping more than nine hours a night means that you’re four times more likely to die early. In reality, the study suggests that people who are physically inactive and also sit for long periods of time, as well as sleep more than nine hours a day have increased health risks. In other words, sleeping for over nine hours a night may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if you are already physically inactive. Sleeping longer is additional inactivity piled on to already inactive waking hours.
At the same time that people are conducting these studies, billions of dollars are being poured into anti-aging research, especially by the mega rich who want to live longer such as Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. So, you can become more physically active, sit less, eat healthier, refrain from smoking and drinking as well as live long enough to take advantage of some of these billionaire-funded technologies that will make you physically 50 years old when you are ninety instead of being a cadaver with a heartbeat.