LONDON, ONT. -- A new study out of Western University in London, Ont. is shining the light on how important sleep is to our health, but it’s not as simple as getting as much as you can, in fact, that may be worse.

The research team out of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry say their study shows that how well you sleep and for how long is linked to increased risk of multiple chronic conditions.

For this reason, they argue that good sleep habits need to be given more focus in healthcare.

“Sleep is still a neglected clinical and public health issue, and this study provides additional evidence of the potential role of sleep for the prevention and management of several chronic conditions,” said Dr. Saverio Stranges lead researcher on the study.

The team was studying multimorbidity, which is when a person suffers from multiple chronic conditions.

The study, which surveyed 30,000 adults over the age of 45, found that both getting not enough, and too much sleep, increased the risk of multimorbidity.

In women who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night their risk increased by 16 per cent.

Some may think then getting more sleep would be better, but the evidence points to a different conclusion.

In women who reported getting more than 8 hours of sleep their risk increased by 44 per cent, the results were nearly identical for men as well.

“This is concerning because if poor quality of sleep can increase the risk of a range of chronic conditions, then we should be concerned about sleep hygiene and put that at the centre of our focus both as clinicians and as public health scientists,” said Stranges.