Good Quality Sleep Can Add Years To Your Life, According To Study - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Good Quality Sleep Can Add Years To Your Life, According To Study

New research reveals good quality sleep can add years to people’s lives, with men who sleep well living almost five years longer than those who don’t.

Where it used to be the case that you could stay up into the early hours of the morning, watching the sky turn a myriad shades of blue then pink then blue again, only to get changed and head off to work, these days an hour lost of sleep and it’s catastrophic. Suddenly we’re straining to make out text messages under the weight of fatigued eyeballs, our brain doesn’t function at an acceptable speed, all motivation to exercise is steamrolled by a desire to be horizontal, and our pockets are drained of all savings as we frequent the coffee stand with alarming frequency. Make no mistake, sleep impacts everything from our mood, diet, work efficiency and exercise routine. But according to research, it might also hold the key to longer life.

While it’s no secret that sleep is crucial to our health, researchers have now revealed that good quality sleep can add years to people’s lives. The research found that men who regularly sleep well could live almost five years longer than those who don’t, while women who benefit from good quality sleep also looked to live two years longer than those who don’t, all the while enjoying better health in the process. For young people, those who had better sleep habits were less likely to die early. 

For the study, researchers included data from 172,321 people with an average age of 50, 54 per cent of whom were women. The survey looked at the health of the US population and included questions about sleep and sleep habits. People were followed for an average of 4.3 years, during which time 8,681 died. The study found that, compared with people who had zero to one favourable sleep factors, those who had all five were 30 per cent less likely to die for any reason. 

But before you go about ditching the alarm and choosing ‘snooze’ as a priority, researchers were quick to note that when it comes to health benefits, quality of sleep is as important as quantity. They based good sleep on five different factors: ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night; difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week; trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week; not using any sleep medication; and feeling well-rested after waking up at least five days a week. 

The findings revealed about eight per cent of deaths from any cause could be attributed to poor sleep patterns, which is alarming news to those who struggle to switch off and get into a quality sleep. 

According to Dr Frank Qian, an internal medicine resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, sleep should be a priority in people’s lives when it comes to health. “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.”

Qian, who served as co-author of the study, added: “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.”

“If people have all these ideal sleep behaviours, they are more likely to live longer. So, if we can improve sleep overall, and identifying sleep disorders is especially important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality.” 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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