peer review to study analyzed almost 8,000 British civil service workers over an average period of 25 years, aged 50, 60 and 70 years, and found that “short sleep duration is associated with the occurrence of chronic disease and multimorbidity”, it is that is, two or more chronic diseases at the same time.
The study was published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, by research teams from University College London and Université Paris Cité.
It found that at age 50, those who slept five hours or less were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions over time, compared to their peers who slept seven hours, said lead author Severine Sabia, Epidemiology and public health researcher. Washington Post.
At age 60, those who slept five hours or less had a 32% increased risk, and at age 70, a 40% increased risk, compared to those who slept seven hours. she added.
“As people age, their sleep habits and sleep structure change. However, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is recommended,” Sabia said in a separate statement. statement.
“More than half of older adults now have at least two chronic conditions. This is proving to be a major public health challenge, as multimorbidity is associated with high use of health services, hospitalizations, and disability,” she said.
The study acknowledges that it has some limitations. It was based on self-reported sleep data, and the participants were all civil servants, mostly in London, with only a “small proportion of non-white participants,” he added.
Regardless of your age, job, or background, sleep experts agree that it’s important to get the right amount of sleep for you, and conversely, worrying too much about your sleep can backfire.
“There is no magic one size fits all sleep time,” Neil Stanley, sleep consultant and Author of “how to sleep well”, he told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “We should be looking for the hours that are right for us.”
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for physical and mental health, and sleep needs are to some extent “genetically determined,” like height or shoe size, Stanley said, imploring people not to feel anxious about reaching a target number. of hours
Quality is also important, he added, as our brains need to enter the deep, restorative stage of sleep known as slow wave sleep. It helps cognitive processes, such as memory consolidation, problem solving, and the removal of toxins that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Sleep needs also vary with age, according to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Babies under one year of age may need up to 16 hours of sleep a day, while adolescents need up to 10 hours, and adults and the elderly need seven or more hours a night.
Study author Sabia advised that good sleep hygiene can promote a better night’s sleep. Such habits may include making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and a comfortable temperature, removing electronic devices, and avoiding large meals before bedtime.
“Physical activity and light exposure during the day might also promote good sleep,” he added.
For insomniacs and those with difficulty falling asleep, Stanley suggests not “overcomplicating” things. Humans have been putting themselves to sleep for “millions of years; we’ve never needed lotions, potions or self-help books to fall asleep,” he jokes.
Most people just need a quiet room and a “quiet mind” to sleep well, he added. “Put your worries and concerns to bed before you get into it.”
Professor of circadian neuroscience and Author Russell Foster agrees that sleep is “extremely important” and urges those concerned about how many hours they’re getting to accept that there is “individual variation” in sleep habits and length. The litmus test is really how well we perform when we’re awake, he told The Post.
If we’re able to function, problem solve and reflect on ourselves, chances are we’re getting enough sleep for ourselves, Foster said. If you need to set multiple alarms, feel tired, irritable or impulsive, crave naps or caffeine, or have noticed disrupted behaviors, then these are common indicators that you’re not getting enough sleep.
While there may be a “golden dream number,” he added, it’s likely based on the individual, and “it varies and will change as we age.”