Fit over 50 Update — Sleep Sounder, Live Longer

In my and Phil Bishop’s book, Fit over 50: Make Simple Choices Today for a Healthier, Happier You, we write (page XX):

Tim Herrera, the Smarter Living editor for the New York Times, writes, “Imagine this: Someone walks up to you and pitches you on a brand new, magical pill. This pill can measurably improve your memory, overall cognitive performance, ability to learn new information, receptivity to facial cues, mood, ability to handle problems, metabolism, risk for heart disease and immune system. Would you buy it?” He answers, “Yeah, yeah, you saw this coming: That pill exists, but not in pill form. You can have all of those benefits for free, and all it takes is going to bed a little bit earlier. That’s it.” And he’s right! And, we explain why in our chapter, “Sleep Sounder” (page 177). New studies support how important sleep is to your health.

Researchers examine the association between sleep duration and heart attack risk

The New York Times reported, “Getting less than six hours of sleep a night, or more than nine hours, might increase the risk for heart attack,” researchers found in a study that “included 461,347 men and women ages 40 to 69, all of whom were healthy at the start” and who were followed “over seven years.” The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Study: lack of consistency in amount of sleep, sleep times may lead to health problems

Reuters reported a recent study suggesting that “people who don’t consistently get the same amount of sleep or go to bed at the same time each night may be more likely to develop health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.” Researchers “had 2,003 patients do home-based sleep studies for one week using devices known as actigraphs, which assess nighttime movements and sleep-wake cycles.” The study was published in Diabetes Care.

Poor sleep habits tied to problems in patients with diabetes and prediabetes

Reuters reported, “Too little sleep – or too much – can be tied to problems with blood sugar levels, not just in people with diabetes but also in people at high risk for developing the disease,” researchers concluded in a study that included “962 overweight or obese adults, ages 20 to 65, who underwent blood tests and filled out sleep questionnaires.” The study revealed that “compared to people who said on the questionnaires that they got seven or eight hours of sleep every night, people who averaged less than five hours or more than eight hours of sleep at night had significantly higher levels of hemoglobin A1C in their blood, reflecting poor blood sugar control over the past two or three months.” The findings were published online in Diabetes Care.

Poor sleep may increase risk for obesity in women

The New York Times reported a study that “prospectively followed 43,722 generally healthy women, average age 55, for an average of six years” indicates that “sleeping with the lights on may increase the risk for obesity.” The findings were published in JAMA Internal MedicineReuters reports “at the start of the study, women were typically overweight but not yet obese, according to their body mass index (BMI),” but “after almost six years of follow-up, women who slept with a television or light on in the room were 22 percent more likely to be overweight and 33 percent more likely to be obese than women who slept in total darkness without even a nightlight or the glow from an alarm clock.”

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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