Middle-aged people who incorporate five key sleeping habits into their night-time routine are 30% less likely to die early, latest evidence shows.

A study by Harvard University has detected 5 sleeping behaviours that can increase an individual’s lifespan by approximately 5 years.

The five sleeping habits that the researchers are championing include:

  • Getting seven to eight hours sleep a night
  • Having trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week
  • Having difficulty falling asleep no more than two nights a week
  • Not using any sleeping pills
  • Feeling well-rested after waking up at least five days a week.

According to the academics, bad sleeping habits trigger around 8% of deaths in the United States.

Not getting enough sleep is associated with a range of health conditions, such as cancer and coronary heart disease, the research has revealed.

However, nearly 30% of Americans do not sleep for 7 hours or more – which is the minimum amount of sleep recommended for adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

During the study, a team of scientists examined the health and sleeping data of more than 172,000 middle-aged adults between 2013 and 2018.

They found that the participants who implemented the five sleeping habits into their bedtime routines were 30 per cent less at risk of dying compared to those who adopted none or few of the recommended sleeping behaviours.

Men who met all five sleeping requirements benefitted more than women who followed the same criteria, the study has reported.

Prior research studies have found that a lack of sleep can trigger severe cardiovascular complications.

Senior author Dr Frank Qian said: “We saw a clear dose-response relationship, so the more beneficial factors someone has in terms of having higher quality of sleep, they also have a stepwise lowering of all cause and cardiovascular mortality.

“I think these findings emphasise that just getting enough hours of sleep isn’t sufficient. You really have to have restful sleep and not have much trouble falling and staying asleep.”

He added: “Even from a young age, if people can develop these good sleep habits of getting enough sleep, making sure they are sleeping without too many distractions and have good sleep hygiene overall, it can greatly benefit their overall long-term health.

“It’s important for younger people to understand that a lot of health behaviours are cumulative over time.”

He concluded: “Just like we like to say, it’s never too late to exercise or stop smoking, it’s also never too early, and we should be talking about and assessing sleep more often.”

The entire research study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology and World Heart Federation joint conference at the beginning of March.

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