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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Want to live longer? Fix your sleep

Practising five healthy sleeping habits increased men's life expectancy by almost five years and women's life expectancy by approximately 2.5 years, says study

By Web Desk
February 24, 2023
Image shows a man sleeping.— Pexels
Image shows a man sleeping.— Pexels

Practising five healthy sleeping habits increased men's life expectancy by almost five years and women's life expectancy by approximately 2.5 years, according to a recent study.

“If people have all these ideal sleep behaviours, they are more likely to live longer,” CNN quoted study coauthor Dr Frank Qian, a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School and internal medicine resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston.

“If we can improve sleep overall, and identifying sleep disorders is especially important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality,” Qian said in a statement.

Following are the five sleeping habits the study authors recommend:

  1. Falling asleep easily 
  2. Staying asleep
  3. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep
  4. Waking up rested 
  5. Foregoing sleep medications

Falling asleep easily

Many of us might find falling asleep easily quite difficult. But if you do have this habit, it means that you are able to fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time (ideally within 15-20 minutes) after getting into bed. To help facilitate falling asleep, it's important to maintain a relaxing environment, avoid stimulating activities before bed, and establish a calming bedtime routine. Sleep hygiene can also play a huge role. 

Staying asleep

Staying asleep is another good sleep habit and indicates sleep quality. This means that you are able to sleep soundly throughout the night without waking up frequently. While we usually talk about sleep quantity, sleep quality is equally important. To promote staying asleep, it is important to establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a comfortable environment, and avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep

Even kids know by now that getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is crucial. This allows your body to get the restorative sleep it needs to function optimally. 

Waking up rested

Waking up rested is as important as sleeping easily. It can only happen if the sleep quality was good. To wake up rested means that you feel refreshed and alert upon waking up in the morning.

Foregoing sleep meds

Foregoing sleep medications is generally considered a good sleep habit. While sleep medications can be effective in the short term, they can be habit-forming and have side effects.