I started writing this blog in March of 2010. In the beginning my only concern was losing weight. I have since developed my focus to living a healthy and long life with my mental faculties intact in the home stretch. In order to achieve that, some very important, but often overlooked aspects of living must be observed. Regular, hopefully daily exercise, will keep our organic machine humming. By all means one needs to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Intelligent eating is a sine que non. And. last, but not least, one needs to get enough sleep. Sleep is a reboot for the brain. Essential for a healthy life. Herewith, some superb guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.
Common lore would have you believe that everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel their best—and for the majority of adults, that’s true. However, there is (unfortunately!) no one-size-fits-all answer. Many factors (like age, your body’s base or innate need for sleep, age, sleep quality, pregnancy, and sleep debt) play a role in establishing your particular “magic number.” As you age, your sleep needs change — older adults may need less sleep, seven to eight hours after age 65, for example, than their younger counterparts. Continue reading
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recently released the key indicators of good sleep quality, as established by a panel of experts.
Given the precipitous increase in the use of sleep technology devices, the key findings are timely and relevant. This information complements the data these devices provide, helping millions of consumers interpret their sleep patterns. The report comes as the first step in NSF’s effort to spearhead defining the key indicators of good sleep quality. They key determinants of quality sleep are included in a report published in Sleep Health. They include:
- Sleeping more time while in bed (at least 85 percent of the total time)
- Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
- Waking up no more than once per night; and
- Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep.
Multiple rounds of consensus voting on the determinants led to the key findings, which have since been endorsed by the American Association of Anatomists, American Academy of Neurology, American Physiological Society, Gerontological Society of America, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, Society for Research of Human Development, and Society for Women’s Health Research.
This is not an easy question to answer. The National Sleep Foundation offers ranges for various ages, but with the range for adults being two whole hours, from seven to nine hours, it is certainly not definitive.
Time Magazine quoted Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., who compared death rates among more than one million American adults who reported their average nightly amount of sleep. While his results were surprising, they have since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia.
“Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hr. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr.” Kripke said.
“Morbidity [or sickness] is also “U-shaped” in the sense that both very short sleep and very long sleep are associated with many illnesses—with depression, with obesity—and therefore with heart disease—and so forth. But the [ideal amount of sleep] for different health measures isn’t all in the same place. Most of the low points are at 7 or 8 hr., but there are some at 6 hr. and even at 9 hr. I think diabetes is lowest in 7-hr. sleepers [for example]. But these measures aren’t as clear as the mortality data.”
The best explanation I have heard was from Associate Professor Ramadevi Gourineni in Neurology and Director of the Insomnia Program speaking before the Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®. In answer to the question how much sleep do I need, she offered, “The amount that permits us to be wide awake, alert and energetic throughout the day. This amount varies from person to person and may be genetically determined.” She also noted that not only do we need the proper quantity of sleep, but also the proper quality of sleep. Continue reading