Improved Sleep is Linked to a Longer Life
When you are sleeping, your body is hard at work improving the functioning of your bodily systems. Therefore, adequate sleep is critical for improving your overall health– which can impact your life expectancy. However, while inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your health so can too much. Therefore, it is important to find that sweet spot where you get just the right amount of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, age has a major impact on the amount of sleep required. Typically, children and teens need more sleep than adults. One of the major impacts to sleep quality is sleep-disordered breathing.
If you are having trouble getting adequate sleep, you may have sleep apnea or other sleep disorder. The sleep doctors at Breathing and Sleep Center in Colorado Springs can diagnose and treat your sleep issue to help you improve your sleep and increase your life expectancy.
Why is Sleep so Important?
Sleep has many functions:
- Helps you feel more refreshed
- Allows the cells in your brain, muscles, and organs to repair/renew
- Regulates metabolism and how your body releases hormones
If you are not getting adequate sleep, these processes get out of whack and your risk of health issues increases. However, it can be a cycle: while lack of sleep can cause and/or contribute to health problems, there is also a chance that health problems are causing and/or contributing to your lack of sleep.
If you are not getting adequate sleep, your risk of being involved in potentially fatal accidents increases. In fact, a study from 2014 revealed that getting less than 6 hours of sleep increases your risk of being involved in a car crash by 33%. Approximately 9% of all car crashes are attributed to lack of sleep.
Risks Associated with Too Much Sleep
Researchers also warn that getting too much sleep can be an indication of health problems as well. In one study, a link was found between too much sleep and a higher BMI and psychiatric problems. However, there was no link between too much sleep and the health impacts linked to not getting enough sleep. Another study revealed that getting too much sleep can increase stroke risk by 23%.
If you regularly feel like you need more sleep, it’s an indication that something is wrong, such as sleep apnea or other sleep-disordered breathing condition. A medical professional can diagnose and treat these issues.
How Much Sleep is Best?
According to sleep experts, the ideal sleep duration is between 7 and 8 hours. The exact amount varies from one person to another. Research has shown that consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep at night increases the risk of death by 25%, while getting more than 8 hours of sleep at night increases the risk of death by 17%. Sleep medications can also increase mortality risk by 1/3.
Tips for Improving Sleep
If you are not getting adequate sleep, there are things you can do:
- Establish a consistent bedtime/wake time and stick to it, even when you’re off your normal routine (weekends, vacation, etc)
- Avoid using electronics at bedtime, leave them outside of your bedroom when you go to bed
- Avoid eating and/or drinking alcohol/caffeine close to your bedtime
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool
- Exercise on a regular basis
If you think you may have sleep apnea or other sleep-disordered breathing condition, schedule a consultation with Breathing and Sleep Center in Colorado Springs. Our sleep doctors can diagnose and treat your sleep disorders so that you can improve your sleep and therefore, your life expectancy.