Study: What’s the ‘sweet spot’ of sleep for increasing longevity?

While you rest, your body is busy eliminating toxins, boosting immunity, and improving cognitive and hormonal function. That’s why getting enough but not too much sleep could be the key to a long and healthy life.

The Fountain of Youth is elusive. As SleepScore Labs reports, researchers are increasingly looking for “behaviors that can be exploited to increase the life expectancy of future generations.” And sleep is on the list.

This week, new research shows that “young people who have more beneficial sleep habits are less and less likely to die prematurely”. And Harvard-led research found that about 1 in 12 deaths from any cause may be related to poor sleep. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session, which met with the World Congress of Cardiology.

Individual sleep needs vary, but between seven and eight hours a night seems like a solid and healthy pattern.

According to a doctor-reviewed article in Very Well Health, “The purpose of sleep is not just to help you feel fresher, but to allow cells in your muscles, organs, and brain to repair and renew themselves. every night. Sleep also helps regulate your metabolism and the way your body releases hormones. When these processes go out of whack due to lack of sleep, it can increase your risk of health problems.

The new study

The research included data from 172,321 people – their average age was 50 – who were part of the National Health Survey between 2013 and 2019. This is an annual survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The study showed that five good sleep habits add nearly 5 years to a man’s lifespan and 2.5 years to a woman’s.

“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, in a press release. “So 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.”

The five factors are:

  • Sleep seven to eight hours a night.
  • Difficulty falling asleep twice a week or less.
  • Difficulty staying asleep no more than twice a week.
  • Do not use sleeping pills.
  • Waking up feeling well rested at least five days a week.

The study controlled for factors that increase the risk of death, including lower socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol consumption and other medical conditions.

“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,” Qian said. .

He noted that the study estimated longevity gains starting at age 30, but gains could also be predicted for older ages. “It’s important for young people to understand that many health-related behaviors accumulate over time. 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.

The limitation of the study was that sleep patterns were self-reported and could not be independently verified. They also knew nothing about the types of sleeping pills used or the duration of use, according to the statement.

Other research suggests similar benefits of good sleep hygiene.

According to SleepScore Labs, “Scientists now believe that getting enough, consistent, quality sleep may be the key to unlocking increased life expectancy worldwide. Research shows that people who are able to successfully reach a very advanced – the rare centenarians who live to be 100 – typically enjoy optimal sleep throughout their lives.

Don’t sleep too much

The Very Well Health article also points out that oversleeping may be associated with psychiatric illnesses and higher BMI, “but not with other chronic medical conditions linked to insufficient sleep.”

The article cited a 2019 study in the journal Neurology that found those who slept nine or 10 hours a night had a 23% higher incidence of stroke than those who slept seven to eight hours a night. And those who took long naps and slept long hours had an 85% increased risk of stroke.

The value of sleep is not a new discovery. In 2002, when researchers studied the sleeping patterns of elderly people living in Ogimi Village, Japan, where many live very long lives, they found a healthy pattern that included only short naps, less sleepiness and lots of more exercise and walking, among other things. factors. “The study results indicate a relationship between lifestyle and sleep health in older adults and suggest that deterioration in sleep health is related to physical and mental health,” the researchers wrote about of the study, published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Tips for sleeping well

CNN said you can “easily train your brain to sleep better.”

These good sleep hygiene tips include going to bed at the same time most nights and getting up at the same time too, “even on weekends and holidays.”

A sleep routine is important, and distractions like screens should be avoided within an hour of bedtime. Relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, or hot baths can help.

A cool, dark room is ideal. And if there’s a lot of noise, the article says to consider a sound blocker.

According to the article, “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. “

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