February 17, 2011

Sleep and Increased Longevity

Sleep and Increased LongevityInadequate sleep can leave one with more than dark circles under their eyes.   Approximately 25% of the adult population is affected by sleep disorders.  Falling asleep is an integral part of one’s day and if not optimal, has a serious effect on our overall health and longevity.

Short term, multiple studies have demonstrated an association between sleep deprivation and the increased incidence of poor performance at work, higher levels of stress, an increase in accidents both at home and work, and a decrease in mental acuity.  Long term, sleeping disorders lead to higher incidences of hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, depression, a decrease in the overall quality of life, and a decrease  in life expectancy.

How much rest is enough?

Most studies indicate that children require 9-10 hours as do adolescents. Adults require 8 hours or more of restfulness per night. The easiest test is whether you require an alarm clock to get up in the morning.  Rate your overall feeling upon rising and ask yourself do you feel fresh and fully rested?  Do you require a nap mid-afternoon? If you need a nap, or feel less than 50% fully rested, then you may need more or better quality sleep.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation:

  • Personal habits
  • Watching TV late at night
  • Working on the computer late at night
  • Late night socializing
  • Shift work
  • Deadlines at work that cause you to work late at night
  • Excessive worrying prior to bedtime
  • Alcohol consumption prior to bedtime
  • Poor sleeping hygiene
  • Caffeine or nicotine usage several hours prior to rest

Sleeping Help

  • Simply get in the habit of retiring for the night at a specific time: stick to that allotted time so that you can settle down for the night
  • Get rid of all external stimuli (all work, anything electronic) and engage in quiet time such as easy reading for 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime
  • Turn off the television, other bright lights, computers and lit up electronics since it interferes with your circadian rhythm
  • Restrict caffeine , nicotine and alcohol a few hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid late night socializing most nights of the week.
  • Improve your sleep environment adjust the temperature, use black out shades and sound proof the area as best possible. Remove TVs, computers and radios.
  • Seek medical attention for sleeping disorders that are not remedied by the above suggestions. You may have a serious disorder known as sleep apnea.

See related articles.

“Melatonin: the Other Anti Aging Hormone”

“Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia with by Sleeping”

“How to Increase Energy Levels”

“Stress and Your Health”

“Telomere Length and Life Expectancy”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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