Key Sleeping Habits That Adds Years To An Average Person’s Life & Why Eight Hours Is Important

Five sleeping habits for longevity have been identified. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels)
Five sleeping habits for longevity have been identified. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels)

By Stephen Beech

Five key sleeping habits that can add years to your life have been identified by scientists.

Life expectancy was 4.7 years greater for men and 2.4 years greater for women who reported having all five quality sleep measures compared with those who had none or only one of the five favorable elements of low-risk sleep.

Five sleeping habits for longevity have been identified. Studies have recommended that 7 to 8 hours of sleep is the longevity for a person living a longer life. KETUT SUBIYANTO/SWNS TALKER

Scientists identified the five key habits as seven or eight hours kip a night; difficulty falling asleep no more than twice a week; trouble staying asleep no more than twice a week; not using any sleep medication; and feeling well rested when waking up at least five days a week.

Study co-author Doctor Frank Qian said: “If people have all these ideal sleep behaviors, they are more likely to live longer.”

Previous studies have shown that getting too little or too much sleep can negatively affect the heart.

It has also been widely reported that sleep apnoea, a disorder that causes people to pause or stop breathing while asleep, can lead to several heart conditions, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart attacks.

The American research team who conducted the new study found that young people who have more beneficial sleep habits are incrementally less likely to die young.

The findings also suggest that around eight percent of deaths from any cause could be attributed to poor sleep patterns.

Dr. Qian said: “I think these findings emphasize that just getting enough hours of sleep isn’t sufficient.

“You really have to have restful sleep and not have much trouble falling and staying asleep.”

The researchers looked at figures from more than 172,000 American adults, with an average age of 50, who participated in an annual health survey between 2013 and 2018 that included questions about sleep and sleep habits.

Participants were followed for an average of 4.3 years during which time 8,681 died.

Of the deaths, 30 percent were from cardiovascular disease, 24 percent were from cancer and 46 percent were due to other causes.

Researchers assessed the five different factors of quality sleep using a low-risk sleep score they created based on answers collected as part of the survey.

Each factor was assigned zero or one point for each, for a maximum of five points, which indicated the highest quality sleep.

Dr. Qian, a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, said: “If we can improve sleep overall, and identifying sleep disorders is especially important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality.”

A Councilors sleeping during the standing committee member election at Civic center on February 24, 2022, in New Delhi, India. Studies have found 8% of deaths were caused by lack of sleeping patterns. SONU MEHTA/SWNS TALKER

The research team found that, compared to people who had zero to one favorable sleep factors, those who had all five were 30 percent less likely to die for any reason, 21per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 19 percent less likely to die from cancer, and 40 percent less likely to die of causes other than heart disease or cancer.

Dr. Qian said the other deaths are likely due to accidents, infections or neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

He says more research is needed to determine why men with all five low-risk sleep factors had double the increase in life expectancy compared with women who had the same quality sleep.

Dr. Qian said: “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.”

He explained that for the present analysis, the team estimated gains in life expectancy starting at age 30, but the model can be used to predict gains at older ages too.

Dr. Qian added: “It’s important for younger people to understand that a lot of health behaviors are cumulative over time.

“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.”

The researchers hope patients and doctors will start talking about sleep as part of their overall health assessment and disease management planning.

Dr. Qian is due to present the findings at the American College of Cardiology’s annual Scientific Session in New Orleans next month.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker.

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