Sleeping Better In the Cards?
Eat healthily, run 2 miles a day, mediate the stress away (good luck)….etc. many of us are very health conscious but simply overlook one of the most important aspects of a healthy life – sleeping better! From brain functionality to improving your immune system, check out some of the latest science on how important sleeping better is and just exactly how long you need to sleep better!
Science tells us how important sleeping better is
Losing Sleep Correlated to Gaining Weight
A study in the Endocrine Society depicted how skipping out on just 30 minutes of sleep per night can have long-term weight effects.
The study found that compared to those without a sleep deficit (self-reported by all newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients), those who missed out on at least 30 minutes of sleep per day were 72% more likely to be obese.
Professor Dr. Shahrad Taheri explained, “Sleep loss is widespread in modern society, but only in the last decade have we realized its metabolic consequences.
Our findings suggest that avoiding sleep debt could have positive benefits for waistlines and metabolism and that incorporating sleep into lifestyle interventions for weight loss and diabetes might improve their success.”
Sleeping Less Than 5 Hours?
A study in the American Heart Association looked at over 47,000 young to middle-aged adults who partook in a sleep survey and advanced coronary lesion/stiffness tests, found that those who sleep 5 or fewer hours per day had 50% more coronary artery calcium than those who slept 7 hours!
Likewise, it also found that those who sleep 9+ hours had 70% more coronary calcium than those who slept 7 hours!
When it comes to sleep quality, those who reported having poor sleep quality had 20% more coronary calcium than those who self-reported as having good, quality sleep!
Dr. Yoosoo Chang explained, “Adults with poor sleep quality have stiffer arteries than those who sleep seven hours a day or had good sleep quality. Overall, we saw the lowest levels of vascular disease in adults sleeping seven hours a day and reporting good sleep quality.”
No More All-Nighters!
Research in eLife found that all-nighters may have the opposite effect of what you want them to if you are trying to remember and retain as much information as possible. So do we get tired because we need to convert what we learned into memories?
Recent research on flies may just say so. When our brain goes into memory consolidating mode it might actually inhibit wakefulness! While more studies need to be carried out – especially on humans – the results are pretty cool, huh? Teach yourself and then sleep to consolidate it!
Graduate student Bethany Christmann explained, “It’s almost as if that section of the mushroom body [similar to the hippocampus in humans] were saying ‘hey, stay awake and learn this. Then, after a while, the DPM neurons start signaling to suppress that section,”
…As if to say, ‘you’re going to need sleep if you want to remember this later’.
Fight Your Cold With Sleep
Research published in SLEEP found that those that sleep 6 or fewer hours every night are 4 times more likely to catch a common cold when exposed to the virus. This indicates that a lack of sleep not only affects our cognitive abilities but also our physical health as well!
Dr. Aric Prather explained, “Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching a cold. It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education, or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”
The New Rules On Sleep: How much do you need?
Loyola University recently published some statistics on how much sleep we all should get per night. While there have been government regulations out for a while, they updated these regulations to include people of all ages and the latest research.
Neuroendocrinologist Dr. Lydia DonCarlos explained, “We still have a great deal to learn about the function of sleep. We know it’s restorative and important for memory consolidation. But we don’t know the details of what the function of sleep is, even though it is how we spend one-third of our lives.” Here are the latest recommendations from an expert panel at the National Sleep Foundation:
- 0-3 months: 14-17 hours each day (previously 12-18).
- 4-11 months: 12-15 hours (previously 14-15).
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (previously 12-14).
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (previously 11-13).
- 6-13 years: 9-11 hours (previously 10-11).
- 14-17 years: 8-10 hours (previously 8.5-9.5).
- 18-25 years: 7-9 hours (new age category).
- 26-64 years: 7-9 hours (no change).
- 65+ years: 7-8 hours (new age category).
So do you want to start sleeping better and get more sleep? From affecting your cardiovascular system to your body weight, not getting enough sleep can be an incredibly unhealthy habit we all should break this year!
Eat healthy, run those daily miles, mediate like it’s going out of style… and get 7-9 hours of sleep a night!
Sleep better, your body will thank you for it!