Getting good sleep 'may add years to your life'


With such busy work and social lives, getting enough sleep can often fall by the wayside.

But according to new research conducted in the U.S., ensuring you get eight hours of shut-eye each night not only supports the heart and overall health but can also impact longevity.

Following analysis of data from over 172,000 people, scientists reported that among those who had kept quality sleep measures - including ideal duration, not using sleep medication, and feeling well rested five days a week - life expectancy was 4.7 years greater for men and 2.4 years greater for women compared with those who had none or only one of the factors.

And compared to individuals who had zero to one favourable sleep factors, those who had all five were 30 per cent less likely to die for any reason, 21 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 19 per cent less likely to die from cancer, and 40 per cent less likely to die of causes other than heart disease or cancer.

"If people have all these ideal sleep behaviours, they are more likely to live longer," said co-author Dr Frank Qian. "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."

"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," he continued. "It's important for younger people to understand that a lot of health behaviours are cumulative over time. 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."

Full study results will be presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual scientific session together with the World Congress of Cardiology in March.