Scientists discovered a way to help you live longer, improve your memory, make you more attractive and boost your sex life.
Did I have your attention? Well, the remarkable solution to all those health issues and more is more simple than you think – it’s sleep!
The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.
“Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain,” Walker says. “Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it.”
Do you remember when was the last time you had a good night sleep? Or do you recall the last time you just woke up happy and energized without the need to drink a cup of coffee? If the answer to either of these questions is no, that makes it two of us. Actually, 2/3 of adults in all developed nations do not get the recommended eight hours’ nightly sleep.
Sleeping less than six or seven hours a night crushes the functions of your immune system, and doubles your risk of cancer. Insufficient sleep is a key factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Inadequate sleep — even moderate reductions for just a week — disrupts blood sugar levels and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure.
Sleep disorders expert Harneet Walia, MD, says it’s important to focus on getting enough sleep, something many of us lack. “First and foremost, we need to make sleep a priority,” she says. “We always recommend a good diet and exercise to everyone. Along the same lines, we need to focus on sleep as well.”
Your doctor urges you to get enough sleep for good reason, Dr. Walia says. Shorting yourself on shut-eye has a negative impact on your health in many ways:
Short-term problems can include:
Lack of alertness: Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact, research shows.
Impaired memory: Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think and to remember and process information.
Relationship stress: It can make you feel moody, and you can become more likely to have conflicts with others.
Quality of life: You may become less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise.
Greater likelihood for car accidents: Drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If you continue to operate without enough sleep, you may see more long-term and serious health problems. Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression and lower sex drive.
Chronic sleep deprivation can even affect your appearance. Over time, it can lead to premature wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes. Also, research links a lack of sleep to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol can break down collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth.
The World Health Organisation has declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialised nations. It is no coincidence that countries where sleep time has declined most dramatically over the past century are also those suffering the greatest increase in rates of physical diseases and mental disorders.
How do you know if you are routinely getting enough sleep?
There’s a short test you can take that will determine if you are getting less than your ideal amount of sleep. Ask yourself the following questions; Do I need an alarm clock to wake up at the right time? Do I have trouble getting out of bed every morning? Do I get tired quickly when driving? Do I have trouble remembering things or concentrating? Do I fall asleep as soon as I get in bed? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you are not getting enough sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a world-class study that took more than two years of research to complete – an update to our most-cited guidelines on how much sleep you really need at each age.
The panel agreed that, for healthy individuals with normal sleep, the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, infants between 12 and 15 hours, toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.
Sources used by The Sun