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Want to live longer? Then prioritize sleep in your life.


Following five good sleep habits added nearly five years to a man’s life expectancy and almost 2.5 years to a woman’s life.If people have all these ideal sleep behaviors, they are more likely to live longer.If we can improve sleep overall, and identifying sleep disorders is especially important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality

 

What do you do? First, make sure you get a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night. That’s tough for many people but you have to do more than just lay in bed longer — you also need to have an uninterrupted, restful sleep more often than not.That means you don’t wake up during the night or have trouble falling asleep more than two times a week.

 

You also have to feel well rested at least five days a week when you wake up. And finally, you can’t be using sleep medications to achieve your slumber.Not just talking about quality and quantity of sleep, but regularity, getting the same good sleep night after night.

 

Recent studies have shown irregularity in sleep timing and duration have been linked to metabolic abnormalities and higher cardiovascular disease risk…“Encouraging maintenance of regular sleep schedules with consistent sleep durations may be an important part of lifestyle recommendations for the prevention of heart disease.”

A difference between men and women

Each of the five healthy sleep habits — falling asleep easily, staying asleep, getting seven to eight hours of zzz’s, waking up rested and foregoing sleep meds.Men who followed all five of the healthy sleep habits had a life expectancy that was 4.7 years greater than people who had none or only one of the five elements of low-risk sleep.The impact of healthy sleep habits was much lower for women and those who followed all five sleep habits gained 2.4 years compared with those who did none or only one….“That was an interesting part of the study for me, and I hope we can find that answer with more research”.

 

One potential reason for that gender difference could be the difficulty of evaluating women for obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially deadly condition in which breathing stops every few minutes.The more severe the apnea, the greater the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure and strokes.

However, women with obstructive sleep apnea often get underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they may not present with the classic symptoms that is see when evaluating men….Maybe there is need to ask different questions or look at different parameters, or is there something missing here?

•Good sleep hygiene
Would your score be less than five? Don’t fret — the good news is that you can easily train your brain to better sleep by following what is called good “sleep hygiene.”… It’s important to go to bed at the same time on most nights and get up at the same time most mornings — even on weekends and holidays.Make sure your sleeping environment is optimal — cooler and darker is better — and block noise or try a sound machine.

 

Finally,even from a young age, if people can develop these good sleep habits of getting enough sleep, making sure they are sleeping without too many distractions and have good sleep hygiene overall, it can greatly benefit their overall long-term health.Just like we like to say, ‘it’s never too late to exercise or stop smoking,’ it’s also never too early.And we should be talking about and assessing sleep more often.

 

Article By Suzy Nyongesa.

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