Sleep Well to Live Longer

Sleep Well to Live Longer

A good night’s sleep not only helps you function better — it can help lengthen your life!


Some people feel great on six hours of sleep — but a large number of us require more than eight. Or at least more than we’re getting. But across various sleep studies, most researchers agree: Sleep-deprivation can be hazardous to your overall health.

A study at the University of California, San Diego, states that contrary to the classic eight hours of sleep, the optimal amount of sleep is actually seven hours each night — but not less than six-and-a-half hours.

The magical seven hours, considered “core sleep” by researchers, is sufficient to maintain optimal health. The sleep study, involving 1 million participants, concludes that sleeping more than seven hours doesn’t actually do much restoring at all.

In addition, a recent report from Surrey University in the UK indicates that a lack of sleep can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity. If sleep is inadequate for several nights (fewer than six hours per night), the Guardian newspaper reported, quoting the research, 700 genes linked to fighting disease are affected.

The changes that occur in the body are significant for long-term health, as it disrupts the body’s immune system and metabolism. Consistently getting fewer than five hours of sleep every night increases serious side effects some 15 per cent.

The body goes into repair mode when sleeping, so sleep-deprivation suppresses gene activity that governs the body’s inflammatory response, which is linked to ageing. Missing “beauty sleep” causes the face to look as tired as the body. What’s worse is that the lack of sleep may cause more sleeplessness.

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Since restoration of the body occurs during sleep, including new skin-cell growth and hormonal rebalancing, chronic sleep problems can lead to serious health concerns.

Saggy facial skin and dark circles under the eyes are motivation enough for most us to try sleeping enough, but it’s more easily said than done!

Some ways to improve a good night’s sleep, according to Psychology Today magazine:

  • Keep a regular schedule
  • Limit naps to no longer than 45 minutes during the day
  • Stay off caffeine by midday
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes each day (finish at least three hours before bedtime)
  • Focus on positive thoughts
  • Create a pleasant bedroom atmosphere
  • Turn off computers and video games a couple of hours before bedtime
  • Prepare for sleep by dimming lights and taking a relaxing bath
  • Eat a sleep-inducing snack of foods that contain tryptophan
  • Wear an eye mask to darken the room
  • Get a dose of sunlight during the day

While a solid seven or eight hours of sleep might seem like a luxury, just know that most anything you’re staying up for can’t compare with what you’re getting in return in the long run!

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