But recent research published in the UK followed people 7000 people for over 25 years, and it sheds a little more light on what that means.
The study found that sleeping for five hours or less per night was associated with an increased risk of developing more than one chronic disease compared with those who slept seven hours or more.
The chronic diseases in the study read like a list of things no one wants:
- coronary heart disease
- heart failure
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- chronic kidney disease
- liver disease
- mental disorders other than depression and dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- arthritis/rheumatoid arthritis
Is this an effort to scare you into sleeping more?
Maybe. But it’s probably not going to work. What can work is to start by noticing how you feel when you DO sleep. If you’re like most of our patients, you know how different being rested versus not rested feels.
That feeling of waking up tired? Of having low energy? Consider that a symptom of something wrong. Something that needs work.
How do you work on it?
- First, commit to it. Decide it’s important, and stop the late-night shows and commitments and scrolling.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, and big meals within two to three hours of bedtime.
- Reserve your bed for sleep and intimacy. NO working, TV, scrolling.
- Make your room dark, quiet and cool. The best temperature for sleeping is around 65F/18.3C. That’s cooler than most homes and apartments. Turn the temp down, crack a window if you need to, and add blankets.
- Get into a sleep routine to put your brain in sleep mode. Think of kids—they have a bath, brush their teeth, have a warm drink, then story time. It sets the stage for their little bodies to wind down and relax. When it comes to sleep, think of yourself as a big kid.
- Add this simple yoga pose to your bedtime routine. Do it for just ten minutes while you listen to a meditation or relaxing music. It’s magic!
Remember, sleep can impact health, but health can also impact sleep! Many functional health issues can result in poor sleep—things like hormonal imbalances, GI disturbances, and chronic inflammation to name a few. Your ND can help you figure out if any of these are getting in your way!