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Want to live longer? So prioritize sleep in your life: Following five good sleep habits has added nearly five years to a man’s lifespan and nearly 2.5 years to a woman’s lifespan. a new study found.
“If people have all of these ideal sleep behaviors, they’re more likely to live longer,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Qian, clinical researcher in medicine at Harvard Medical School and resident physician. in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
“If we can improve sleep in general, and identifying sleep disorders is particularly important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality,” Qian said in a statement.
What are you doing? First, make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. It’s tough for a lot of people: 1 in 3 Americans suffer from a sleep deficit, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But you need to do more than just stay in bed longer — you also need to get uninterrupted, restful sleep more often than not. This means that you don’t wake up during the night or have trouble falling asleep more than twice a week. You should also feel well rested at least five days a week when you wake up. And finally, you cannot use sleeping pills to fall asleep.
“We’re not just talking about quality and quantity of sleep, but about regularity, getting the same good sleep night after night,” said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of University of Southern California. Medicine. He did not participate in the study.
“Recent studies have shown that irregular sleep patterns and duration are linked to metabolic abnormalities and increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” he said. “Encouraging the maintenance of regular sleep schedules with consistent sleep durations may be an important part of lifestyle recommendations for the prevention of heart disease.”
The preliminary study, presented Thursday at an annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, analyzed data from more than 172,000 people who completed sleep questionnaires between 2013 and 2018 as part of the National Health Interview Survey. The annual survey is conducted by the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics.
Each of the five healthy sleep habits – falling asleep easily, staying asleep, getting seven to eight hours of zzz’s, waking up rested, and forgoing sleeping pills – was given a number. People were scored on how many of the five habits they had.
About four years later, the researchers compared those scores with National Death Index records to see if their sleep behaviors contributed to premature death from certain diseases or any cause.
The team then considered other potential causes of a higher risk of death, such as alcohol consumption, lower socioeconomic status and existing medical conditions.
“Compared to people who had zero to a favorable sleep factor, those who had all five were 30% less likely to die of any reason, 21% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, 19% less likely to die from cancer and 40% less likely to die from causes other than heart disease or cancer,” according to a statement on the study.
Men who followed the five healthy sleep habits had a life expectancy that was 4.7 years longer than people who had none or only one of the five low-risk sleep items, according to the study.
The impact of healthy sleep habits was much lower for women: those who followed all five sleep habits gained 2.4 years compared to those who followed none or just one.
“That was an interesting part of the study for me, and hopefully we can find that answer with more research,” Dasgupta said. A potential reason for this gender difference, he added, could be the difficulty in assessing women for obstructive sleep apnea, a life-threatening condition in which breathing stops every few minutes. The more severe the apnea, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
“Women with obstructive sleep apnea are often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they may not have the classic symptoms that we see when we assess men,” Dasgupta said. “Maybe we need to ask different questions or look at different parameters, or is there something we’re missing here?”
Would your score be less than five? Don’t worry, the good news is that you can easily train your brain to sleep better by following what is known as good “sleep hygiene”. It is important to go to bed at the same time almost every night and to get up at the same time almost every morning, even on weekends and holidays.
Make sure your sleeping environment is optimal – cooler and darker is better – and block out noise or try a sound machine. Avoid alcohol before bed – it may seem like you fall asleep easier, but when your liver finishes metabolizing alcohol at 3 a.m., your body will wake up, experts say.
Establish a sleep routine, free of blue lights and distractions at least an hour before bedtime. Try meditation, yoga, tai chi, hot baths – anything that relaxes you is great.
Parents and Caregivers can learn these habits and teach them to their children, giving them a better chance of living longer, Qian said.
“Even from an early age, if people can develop these good sleep habits of getting enough sleep, making sure they sleep without too many distractions, and having good sleep hygiene overall, it can greatly benefit their long-term overall health,” he said. .
“Just as we like to say, ‘it’s never too late to exercise or quit smoking’, it’s never too early either. And we should talk and assess sleep more often.