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The health benefits of getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep.

The Rest of Your Life

Dec 16, 2021

You Miss 100% of the Naps You Don’t Take

Did you know that there is a new fad called “Nap Cafes?” It may seem crazy or unbelievable at first, but there are businesses now renting designated spaces for daytime napping because so many people do not get enough sleep. In fact, according to the CDC, a third of US adults report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep (at least 7 hours a night). It is such an American health concern that the CDC lists sleep and sleep disorders under diseases and conditions, and argues, “Getting enough sleep is not a luxury—it is something people need for good health.”

But when sleep feels so much less important than the one million other things on our daily to-do lists, how do we really know that sleep is important? Or what health issues does sleep actually affect?

In a recent sleep study, researchers recorded the sleep habits for over 4,000 participants, ages of 65-85, and grouped them into three categories:

  • Short sleep durations (<6 hours)
  • Normal sleep durations (7-8 hours)
  • Long sleep durations (>9 hours)

After running the numbers, participants in both the short and long sleep duration groups were associated with worse outcomes for older adults. The outcomes included:

  • Greater protein build-up in the brain, a marker of Alzheimers
  • Greater depressive symptoms
  • Higher body mass index
  • More cognitive decline

In other words, participants who consistently maintained a regular amount of sleep were more likely to have higher cognitive function, were more emotionally well-balanced, and were healthier physically. Sleep impacts every area of well-being, and this study is not the first to suggest the power of healthy sleep routines. But it certainly does point out how many areas of health sleep can affect.

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that you can be more productive, even healthier, if you don’t “waste time” sleeping. But it’s not wasting time at all! Sleep drives wellness. Consistent nights of the recommended amount of sleep can be a game-changer for overall health and well-being.

Want a few tips about falling asleep? Check this sleep checklist from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

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