The evidence is growing: poor sleep is a risk factor for cardiovascular and general health, as is eating poorly or not exercising.
On the other hand, sleeping well is associated with
, which is why it is considered a fundamental pillar of a healthy life.
More and more research is coming to these conclusions, including one that will be presented in a few days as part of the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session.
Feeling tired when you wake up is a clear sign that your rest was not restful.
Sleep well to live longer
The study found that young people who have better sleep habits are
less likely to die prematurely
In addition, the data found suggests that around 8% of deaths from any cause could be attributed to poor sleep patterns.
"We see a clear
relationship, so the beneficial factors a person has in terms of better sleep quality exert a gradual reduction in the risk of death from all causes," said Frank Qian, from the Faculty of of Medicine of Harvard, in the United States, and co-author of the study.
When talking about getting a good night's sleep, a lot of emphasis is placed on the recommended amount of sleep.
duration is not the only
Explains Qian: "Our findings emphasize that it's not enough just to get enough sleep. You have to get
and not have a lot of trouble falling asleep and staying asleep."
For their research, the team included data from more than 172,000 people with an average age of 50 who participated in a national health survey between 2013 and 2018 (a survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Diseases (CDC) and the US National Center for Health Statistics).
According to Qian, this is the first study to his knowledge that uses a
representative population to look at how various sleep behaviors, and not just sleep duration, might influence life expectancy.
Because the researchers linked participant data to National Death Index records (as of December 31, 2019), they were able to examine the association between individual and combined sleep factors and all-cause mortality, as well as as for specific reasons.
Participants were followed for a median of 4.3 years, during which time more than 8,600 people died: 30
% from cardiovascular disease
, 24% from cancer, and b 46 from other causes.
What is a good sleep: five low-risk habits
The researchers assessed five different sleep quality factors using a low-risk sleep score they created based on responses collected as part of the survey.
sleep duration of seven to eight hours per night;
no more than twice a week;
no more than twice a week;
not using any
feel well rested
upon waking at least five days a week.
Each factor was assigned zero or one point each, for a maximum of five points, indicating the best sleep quality.
"If people have all of these ideal sleep behaviors,
they're more likely to live longer
," Qian said.
In relation to this, he said that if sleep disorders are identified and improved, "we can prevent part of this premature mortality."
For the analysis, the researchers controlled for other factors that may have increased the risk of dying, including lower socioeconomic status, tobacco and alcohol use, among other risk factors.
Compared with people who had zero to one favorable sleep factors, those with all five were
30% less likely to die from any reason
, 21% less from cardiovascular disease, 19% less from cancer, and 40 % less for causes other than heart disease or cancer.
Qian suggested that these deaths were likely due to accidents, infections or neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's disease, but said more research was needed on that.
Among those who reported complying with all five healthy sleep habits, life expectancy was 4.7 years longer for men and 2.4 years longer for women compared to those who had none or only one.
The authors noted that more research is also
to determine why men with the five low-risk sleep factors had twice the increase in life expectancy compared with women.
Sleep duration is not the only thing that matters.
It's never too late (nor too early)
"If from an early age people develop these good habits of getting enough sleep,
without too many distractions
, and maintaining good overall sleep hygiene, they can greatly benefit their overall health in the long run," Qian said.
And he specified that, although for this study they estimated gains in life expectancy from the age of 30, the model can also be used to predict improvements at
"It's important for younger people to understand that many health behaviors
accumulate over time
. We like to say, 'it's never too late to exercise or quit smoking,' but it's never too early either," she stated, suggesting that " we should be talking about and evaluating sleep more often."
In this sense, the authors propose that during medical check-ups, health professionals and patients include sleep quality as a measure to be evaluated.
Tips to sleep better
You find them in these notes:
➪To sleep better: how to apply the technique of "letting go" and a step-by-step guided meditation
➪How to control the negative thoughts that assail us at night and do not let us sleep
➪An expert reveals the best sleeping position
➪10 keys to a deep sleep and avoid micro-awakenings
➪How to calculate your sleep debt
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