Five hours’ sleep is tipping point for bad health

At least five hours sleep a night may cut the over-50s’ chances of multiple chronic health problems, researchers say.

Poor sleep may be a symptom of an underlying health condition or perhaps a risk in and of itself, experts claim.
There is evidence that sleep aids in recovery, relaxation, and renewal of the body and mind, although it is unknown why the “golden slumber number” may be significant.
The UK civil servants’ health and sleep were monitored as part of the PLoS Medicine investigation.
We questioned the roughly 8,000 participants: How much sleep do you get on a typical weeknight?
Some people also wore sleep trackers on their wrists.
Over a period of 20 years of follow-up, they were examined for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease:
  • Those who slept five hours or less around the age of 50 had a 30% greater risk of multiple ailments than those who slept seven hours
  • Shorter sleep at 50 was also associated with a higher risk of death during the study period, mainly linked to the increased risk of chronic disease
According to the study from University College London and Paris Cité University, experts often advise seven to eight hours.

RELATED: The surprising links between what you eat and how well you sleep

Not getting enough sleep can lead to a vicious circle of over-eating and further sleep deprivation, but it may be possible to create a virtuous circle – where healthy eating actually improves your sleep.

Why do we sleep?

Although scientists are unsure, it is certain that sleep is beneficial for mood, attention, metabolism, and the brain’s ability to store memories.
The ability to sleep provides the brain with a chance to remove waste.

Good-sleep tips

  • Tire yourself out during the day by keeping busy and active but slow down towards bedtime
  • Avoid daytime naps
  • Establish a good night-time routine and make sure your bedroom is relaxing and conducive to sleep – thick curtains or blackout blinds, a comfy room temperature and bedding, and no big distractions, such as scrolling on a smartphone in bed
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
  • If you can’t nod off, don’t force it or become frustrated – get up and do something relaxing for a bit, such as reading a book, and then return when sleepier
  • If you work antisocial shifts, try and have a short nap before your first shift in a run of nights, to transition. If you are coming off nights, try a nap to see you through and then go to bed early that evening
  • Focus on your breathing with Michael Mosley’s Sleep Well podcast


by: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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