New research concludes that getting at least five hours of sleep each night can reduce the likelihood of a number of chronic health problems for people over 50.
Health problems can get in the way Sleeps But a bad sleep can also be an omen or a danger in itself, according to them.
There is evidence that sleep helps restore and rejuvenate the body and mind, but it’s not yet clear why exactly five hours of sleep is so important.
The PLoS Medicine study monitored the health and sleep of public servants in United kingdom.
Almost all of the 8,000 participants answered the question: “How many hours of sleep do you get on average per night during the week?”
Some also wore a watch to monitor sleep.
They were screened for chronic conditions, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease, over two decades of follow-up.
Some of the conclusions noted were:
- Those who slept five hours or less at age 50 had a 30% higher risk of developing various diseases than those who slept seven hours;
- Shorter sleep at age 50 was also associated with an increased risk of death during the study period, primarily associated with an increased risk of chronic disease.
Experts generally recommend sleeping seven or eight hours, according to researchers at University College London (UCL) in the UK and Paris City University in France.
Why do we sleep?
Scientists aren’t sure what the answer to this question is, but it’s clear that sleep helps the brain process memories and is good for mood, focus, and metabolism.
Sleep is also an opportunity for the brain to “purify” itself of waste.
Tips for a good sleep
- Be tired during the day by being busy and active, but slow down at bedtime.
- Avoid daytime naps
- Set a good nightly routine and make sure your bedroom has a comfortable sleeping environment – thick drapes or blackout drapes, room temperature, comfortable bedding without major distractions like using your cell phone in bed;
- reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime;
- If you can’t sleep, don’t force it or get frustrated – get up and do something relaxing, like reading a book, and come back when you feel sleepy;
- If you work antisocial shifts, try to get some sleep before your first set of night shifts to transition. If you’re coming off a night shift, try taking a nap to get ready and then go to bed earlier that night.
Dirk Jan Deck, director of the Surrey Sleep Centre, told BBC News: “This work reinforces that getting too little sleep is not good for us. In general, it’s not healthy – although it may be OK for some.”
“The big question is why some people sleep less. What causes that, and is there anything we can do about it? Sleep is a somewhat modifiable lifestyle factor.”
Prolonged periods of lack of sleep can severely affect well-being.
Doctors in the UK public health system rarely prescribe sleeping pills, which can have serious side effects and can be addictive.
But sleep problems can usually be resolved with the help of specialists.
This text was originally published over here
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