High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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When you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you will know about – if you wake up not feeling refreshed or alert, something is off; the feeling of lethargy might extend throughout the whole day. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) identified two basic types of sleep:
- REM (Rapid Eye Movement)
Non-REM is known as “deep sleep” whilst REM sleep is when a person is dreaming.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can also cause difficulties with:
- Making decisions
- Solving problems
- Controlling emotions
- Controlling behaviours
- Coping with change
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to depression and risk-taking behaviour.
Bearing in mind how important sleep is for your mental and physical health, how much do you really need?
Dr Daniel Kripke and his research team went on to investigate this exact same question.
Involving more than one million participants over a six-year period, Dr Kripke and his team from the University of California came up with the following.
They discovered that seven hours is the optimal amount of time a person needs to extend their longevity.
Surprisingly, sleeping any more than seven hours was linked to lower longevity.
In addition, getting less than five-and-a-half hours was also detrimental to people’s health.
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The NIH refer to “sleep debt”, where getting less than seven hours of sleep per night does add up.
“For example, if you lose two hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week,” explained the NIH.
Playing catch-up by sleeping for longer during your days off work can upset the body’s sleep-wake rhythm.
Am I sleep deficient?
If you feel like you could fall asleep during the following activities, then you’re more than likely sleep deficient:
- Sitting and reading or watching TV
- Sitting still in a public place, such as a movie theatre, meeting, or classroom
- Riding in a car for an hour without stopping
- Sitting and talking to someone
- Sitting quietly after lunch
- Sitting in traffic for a few minutes
How to get good quality shuteye
Most importantly, allow enough time for sleep every night and improve your sleep habits.
This can involve going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, even on days off work.
If you do have a lie-in when possible, try not to do any more than an hour difference.
One hour before bed should be reserved for relaxing, which means not looking at bright artificial lights from a screen.
In the hours leading up to bedtime, it’s advisable to avoid large meals and alcoholic beverages.
The NIH added that people should avoid caffeine too, which can be found in hot chocolate, soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which can interfere with good quality sleep – as can nicotine.
Bear in mind that caffeine can last as long as eight hours, so a cup of coffee in the afternoon might not be the best idea.
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