When we sleep, various physiological processes continue to take place in our body to improve our brain function, cardiovascular systems, and overall health. As a result, your immune system gets boosted and your longevity increases.
But this only happens when you’ve received enough sleep. If you’re sleeping for less than 6 hours a night, then you’re putting yourself at risk of developing chronic health problems or even dying prematurely.
In this short post, we’re going to see the relationship between sleep and longevity.
Benefits of sleep to your body
To understand how sleep and longevity relate, we need to first understand how sleep benefits your body. So we’ve highlighted some of the benefits below.
Improved immune system
Lack of enough sleep can have significant effects on your health. Let alone the drowsiness or fatigue you feel the next day. We’re talking about chronic health problems like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. These health conditions significantly decrease your longevity.
But you don’t have to take our word. A good deal of research shows that quality sleep, weight gain, and immune system go hand in hand. According to studies, sleeping fewer affects the metabolic paths that control appetite and cravings, so you feel hungry all the time.
Also, poor sleep affects your immunity, meaning you become more susceptible to diseases. Research shows that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are at a high risk of getting sick as compared to those who sleep 8 hours every night.
The body is always working
A good night’s sleep helps us wake up refreshed the next morning. However, when you’re sleeping your body cells are busy repairing your muscles, organs, and brain.
By sleeping you’re allowing your body to improve your metabolism rates, cardiovascular systems, brain function, along with other functions inside your body. Also, sleeping helps to regulate how your body releases hormones.
However, when these processes are a mess because of poor sleep or sleep disorder, it can increase your risk of developing more serious health problems that affect your longevity.
Improves brain function
Receiving a quality night’s sleep means that you’ve unlocked the silent power of your brain. You’ve been through the REM phase where the deepest neural activities occur, such as regulation of blood circulation and oxygen levels.
Also, when you sleep your brain cells absorb more amino acids. This explains why individuals who receive eight hours of sleep are sharp thinkers and are less susceptible to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
What happens if you over do it?
Lack of sleep will certainly harm you, but sleeping too much is linked to health problems too. Sleeping too little and sleeping too much can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
One study found that people who oversleep (over 9 hours) have a 30% higher risk of dying compared to those who sleep seven to eight hours a night.
Though research doesn’t clearly show how excessive sleep is harmful to our body, it’s associated with several conditions that can increase the risk of death. For example, people with cancer, obesity, depression, and poor overall health tend to spend more hours in bed.
If you’re sleeping for more than nine hours every night, it could indicate depression or other health problems. So make sure you discuss with your doctor about your sleeping habits, especially if they’ve recently changed.
Factors that can enhance the quality and depth of sleep
While sleeping for seven or eight hours is great for longevity, other factors can improve your sleep quality and hours. The factors include:
If you can’t sleep within 30 minutes after lying on the bed, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read a book or take a warm shower, don’t use your phone or watch TV. Use your bed for sleeping and coitus only.
Ensure you go to bed and wake up at the same time throughout the week. When you have a regular schedule, you can build your natural sleep drive via adenosine, a neuromodulator. Do some moderate exercise 3 to 6 hours before going to bed.
Ensure you’ve created the perfect sleeping environment in your bedroom. It needs to be dark, cool, and uncluttered to promote natural sleep. Also, don’t consume caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.
Now that you know about the relationship between sleep and longevity, and the recipe for quality sleep, ensure you sleep seven to eight hours each night. However, don’t be afraid to sleep for over nine hours if you’re tired. You’re better off when you receive enough sleep because you’ll wake up the next day feeling refreshed and focused.
Who is the author?
Bella is a marketing executive and wellness writer at Sleep Standards. She has a big interest in sleep health and skin-care with an aspiration to influence people to have a healthy lifestyle and a peaceful mind. If she’s not working, she spends time reading and traveling around the globe.