Sleep and health: Is life expectancy linked to sleep?
We are constantly reminded that we must get our eight hours of sleep, whether it’s for beauty reasons, or to help with our concentration and mood. However, is there a link between not getting enough sleep, or alternatively too much sleep, and our health in later life?
TEMPUR looks at the possible link between sleep and life expectancy, and why it’s so important that we catch those all-important ZZZs…
Benefits of sleep
We all know that getting a good amount of shut-eye every night is incredibly important, but what are the benefits of sleep?
The more obvious benefits of sleep are improved concentration and increased alertness. This has a direct effect on everyday life, including work, school and relationships. While you’re asleep, a process called consolidation ensures that memories made and skills learnt during the day are strengthened overnight.
As well as cognitive benefits, your skin and eyes will be brighter. You’ll also notice a boost in your mood, and you’ll have a lot more energy!
So, how much sleep is healthy? Scientists recommend getting between 7-9 hours a night is enough for the average adult.
How does sleep deprivation affect health?
Get enough sleep and you’ll feel more alert, focused and find it easier to interact with people. However, not enough sleep can have detrimental effects on your health.
Studies have shown that sleep and health are directly related, with sleep-deprived people tending to consume more calories, making them more likely to be overweight. Good sleepers are also less likely to suffer from heart disease, strokes, and other health-related risks.
Sleep has also been linked to mental health, with people suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia reporting higher rates of depression than strong sleepers.
A common question surrounding sleep deprivation is, can you die from not sleeping? Extended periods of sleep deprivation are believed to be extremely harmful to your health, and may eventually result in death, although this has never been proven in humans.
The link between sleep and life expectancy
Sleep and life expectancy are believed to be intrinsically linked, although whether it is a cause or effect has not yet been decided.
As we all know, sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that those who live to be over one hundred years old have had a positive relationship with sleep throughout their lives. A particularly important factor believed to contribute to this longevity of life is having a regular, consistent sleep pattern.
To ensure your sleep pattern is as regular as possible, you should wake up and go to bed at the same times each day. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone or computer before bed, and make sure your bedroom is the perfect temperature and level of darkness so that you can get the sleep you need.
Do you feel healthier when you get more sleep? What do you think about the link between sleep and life expectancy? Let us know in the comments below…