Long Life and Health
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Aging

How Sleep Extends Your Life

In recent years, doctors have been expressing the need for people to get more sleep. A lack of it causes many problems in both the short-term and long-term. While some people think they will enjoy life more by spending fewer hours in bed, they may not be aware that they are likely shortening their life by a few years. If you want to live longer, you will need to make sure you get enough sleep regularly.

Other Health Benefits May Not Matter

People that are aware of the need to live and eat healthy also need to consider the benefits of sleep. Research is showing that sleep may be the most important aspect of a longer life. Without it, ongoing sleepiness may negate all of your other efforts at staying healthy – mentally and physically.

Sleepiness Places Greater Strain on Your Life

Being tired much of the time is going to place increased stress on your life. It will reduce your performance at work or school, affect your memory and ability to concentrate, make you more easily irritated, tired, and more likely to have a car accident.

A Lack of Sleep Increases Your Risk of Many Health Problems

Feeling tired all the time is just the beginning of possible health problems caused by a lack of sleep. It will reduce the effectiveness of your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to various illnesses and diseases. You will likely develop high blood pressure, gain weight, and have a higher risk of diabetes. It will also affect your sex drive and may increase your risk of an irregular heartbeat and heart disease.

You can also be affected mentally. In some people, it can lead to psychiatric disorders. Depression and anxiety may also result because the natural hormone melatonin helps regulate mood, and a lack of sleep reduces its production in the body.

Besides affecting your health, a lack of sleep can also affect how you look. This is because the body will release more cortisol – the hormone released by stress. An increased amount will make your skin look lackluster, and it will increase the fine lines in your skin and make dark circles under your eyes. It does this by breaking down the collagen, which keeps your skin elastic and smooth. The amount of growth hormone will also be limited, which helps to heal tissues damaged during the day.

Factors That Can Rob You of Quality Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep will take some thought to ensure you are not doing something that will keep you awake longer. To get to sleep faster, turn off all electronics at least a half-hour before going to bed. Make your bedroom dark and turn the thermostat down. Create a bedtime schedule. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for six hours before bedtime. Get regular exercise but not right before bedtime.

Make sure that you do not have sleep apnea. This sleep problem will leave you tired during the day even if you get eight hours of sleep each night. You will need to be tested for it to be treated.

Sleep Changes with Age

As people get older, their sleep patterns change. These changes affect metabolism, circadian rhythm, and metabolism, which are believed to be responsible for reducing the human lifespan. People that have lived to be over 100 years old seem to have circumvented some of these changes and continue to enjoy longer sleep periods.

A good night’s sleep will enable you to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. It will also help you to be focused longer and have more energy – ready to enjoy life more – and longer.

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