Sleep plays an important role in anti-aging. I think we all intuitively know how important a good night’s sleep can be. Certainly, we feel the fatigue, physical and mental fog that can come from poor sleep. But, did you know that lack of sleep could be taking years off of your life?
That is the latest findings, in rats anyway. A group of researchers for the National Institute of Health found that sleep-deprived rats only live about three to four weeks, as opposed to the average year or two lifespans of their well-rested counterparts.
For we humans, sleep deprivation is a big and growing problem. The National Sleep Foundation found that 45% of Americans report lack of sleep severe enough to impact their ability to perform daily activities.
The Foundation suggests the average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
In our stress-filled, always-on world, most Americans only get 5 to 6 hours. This has many health implications, not the least of which is its impact on longevity.
Five Health Benefits of Sleep
- Sleep is good for your heart and lungs. During sleep your heart rate and breathing slow, allowing the heart and lungs to rest and recuperate. Studies have found that those who sleep 6 hours or less are at much greater risk for stroke or heart attack.
- Sleep is good for memory and cognition – During sleep your brain enters a state where it can process the day’s information, retaining important data, forming memories and “dumping” input you do not need. This is particularly important as our brains are in the chronic state of “over-stimulation” in the digital age.
- Sleep stimulates the production of HGH – Children grow more while sleeping, this is because, during sleep, more Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released. HGH is not only necessary for kids to grow, but it also renews all the cells of your body, and has many anti-aging properties.
- Sleep helps prevents obesity – Studies have shown that lack of sleep messes with the balance of hormones that control appetite, and people with poor sleep not only tend to eat more, but they also crave more high-fat foods.
- Sleep is good for your skin – There really is such a thing as a “beauty sleep.” Good sleep releases HGH and other hormones that tighten skin, while poor sleep leads to the release of cortisol, and other “stress hormones” that are known to break down collagen, and lead to lines and wrinkles.
Other Anti-Aging Tips
Getting a good night’s sleep, is just one of the many lifestyle changes you can make to help you to age optimally. There are many others, and they are all part of my comprehensive “Anti-Aging” plan.
Did you know that in addition to enough rest, one of the simplest and most effective ways to live longer, is to reduce the amount of food you eat? In fact, right now, caloric reduction is one of the only methods that has been found to significantly lengthen the lives of laboratory animals.
Other anti-aging methods include:
- Eat well, avoid processed, artificial, and chemical-filled foods.
- Exercise regularly
- Find ways to manage stress
- Hormone Optimization
- Sexual Wellness Treatments
- Supplement as appropriate, to make up for what you are missing in your diet
- Work with anti-aging professionals to develop a comprehensive, integrated health and wellness program, customized to your individual needs
- Recognize the value of the Mind-Body connection
Would you like to live to 100 or more?
What would you do with the extra time?
Start the conversation below.