Good sleep slows down the aging process

NEW RESEARCH finds that a regular, quality sleep schedule can slow down the biological aging process.

The study, published in the journal Sleep Health, concluded that people who do not sleep on a consistent schedule have a higher biological age (the rate of aging of cells) than people who sleep regularly. Although biological age tests are controversial, experts say they are still the clearest indicator of the amount of damage that occurs inside the body over time.

In the study, scientists at Augusta University looked at the sleep habits of more than 6,000 volunteers from 2011 to 2014. The volunteers, with an average age of 50, wore sleep tracking devices. For 4 to 7 days, record the time and frequency of sleep. They also had to answer a questionnaire related to their lifestyle.

To determine the participants' biological age, scientists analyzed blood samples, which revealed health indicators such as cholesterol levels, diabetes and kidney disease.

The study recorded that 65% of volunteers slept 7 to 9 hours per night, 16% slept less than 7 hours, 19% slept more than 9 hours. The volunteers also had the habit of sleeping about 78 minutes more on weekends, with a difference in bedtime of only about 60 minutes each night.

Good sleep can help increase longevity. Photo: Freepik

Scientists found that people who sleep haphazardly have a biological age 9 months older than people who sleep consistently. That is, the cells of this group age 9 months earlier.

"We found that irregular sleep, oversleeping, irregular sleep, and jet lag can accelerate the speed of biological aging. This aging speed is measured by three algorithms based on clinical signs," the study's authors wrote.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, regularly lacking sleep can affect cardiovascular health and stress hormones, thereby increasing blood pressure. It also negatively impacts cognition and mental health.

The authors note a correlation between sleep patterns and living a long, healthy life.

"Sleep habits are something that can be changed. Our findings show that adjusting daily sleep schedules is an effective method to prolong longevity and years of healthy living," the study stated.

Sleeping 2 hours every night, the woman was admitted to a psychiatric hospital
The 42-year-old woman has been having trouble sleeping for nearly a year, only sleeping 2-3 hours a night, intermittently, and had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

The patient is a teacher in Hai Duong, with a healthy history. Prolonged insomnia made her tired, had headaches, had difficulty concentrating on work, was absent-minded, easily irritated, lost her appetite, and lost 2 kg in two months. Many times students asked questions but she did not pay attention.

Doctor Pham Cong Huan, Institute of Mental Health, Bach Mai Hospital (Hanoi), diagnosed the patient with a sleep disorder and had to be hospitalized for treatment. After 7 days of taking the medicine combined with relaxation therapy, exercise, sleep hygiene, and psychological therapy, the patient's condition improved, sleeping 5-6 hours every night and sleeping more deeply.

An insomnia patient being treated at Bach Mai Hospital. Photo: Le Nga

On the afternoon of September 25, Doctor Doan Thi Hue, Deputy Head of Department M8, Institute of Mental Health, said that sleep disorders are a condition related to problems with the quality, duration and quantity of sleep that cause people to daytime fatigue and functional impairment. There are many types of sleep disorders, of which insomnia is the most common.

In recent years, about 80% of patients coming to the hospital for examination were found to have sleep disorders related to stress in life such as insomnia, sleep-wake disorder, and nightmares. Of these, 5-7% of cases of severe insomnia have depression and anxiety; nearly 15% are depressed.

The cause of insomnia can be related to many chronic medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. This can also be a warning sign of physical or nervous system diseases, such as congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis and Parkinson's disease... In addition, some patients have insomnia due to the use of drugs or medications. Other factors such as alcohol, caffeine...

Master of psychology Nguyen Thi Huong notes that to have a good night's sleep, you should not sleep more than 30 minutes at noon. Create a habit of going to bed at a fixed time. Only use the bed for sleeping, avoid eating, working, watching TV, or using the phone in bed.

At night, you should not eat too much before going to bed, you should eat dinner 3 hours before going to bed. Avoid eating a lot of fried and greasy foods because it can easily lead to bloating and indigestion. Avoid using stimulants such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and tea. Avoid blue light from TV and phones because it can disrupt sleep.

Try to reduce stress, practice relaxing activities before bedtime such as breathing exercises and meditation. Regular daily exercise also helps improve sleep quality.

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