Startling new research shows sleep deprivation may be more harmful than researchers ever thought. If you're not getting enough sleep, you could be cutting your life short.
It is well known that a good night's sleep is one of the keys to staying healthy. However, new research shows if men don't get the proper amount of sleep, it could actually be life-threatening -- although female insomniacs did not show the same risks.
A new study conducted by the Penn State College of Medicine found that out of 1,700 people surveyed over 14 years, men who suffer from insomnia are four times more likely to die prematurely than men who get the proper rest.
Men are at an even higher risk of an early death if they have insomnia and type-2 diabetes or hypertension. Also, previous studies show insomnia actually leads to those two conditions.
Although less than 6 hours of sleep was used as a cutoff point in the study, doctors recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly to feel rested the next day.
One out of three people will suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives. Of those, are people who have the ability to sleep for 8 hours, who simply don't make the time.
Others, however, cannot sleep well. For them, doctors recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding caffeine after noon,
- No heavy meals or alcohol at night
- No TV watching in bed or anything else stressful.
"People need to save their bed for sleeping," said Dr. J. Catesby Ware of the Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Not paying bills, not arguing about the children, not arguing about the homework. Lovemaking may be ok."
Your bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet. Exercising in the late afternoon helps greatly. A warm shower or bath before bed and calming activities near bedtime such as prayer and reading the Bible also goes a long way. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and stay away from sleeping pills.
"Sleeping pills not only produce sleepiness during the night, but sleepiness during the day," Catesby said. "People who take sleeping pills are more likely to have automobile crashes. Remember that if you have good sleep you'll be more alert and function better the next day. There is no study that shows sleeping pill use makes people more alert and function better during the day."
If natural sleep remedies don't work, see your doctor. You could have a medical condition like arthritis or sleep apnea that may need to be addressed.