How your sleep habits can lead to a longer life (Part 3)
In parts one and two of this three-part series, we talked about how sleep works to repair the body and some of the many benefits of getting the right amount of sleep.
So far, we know that sleep can affect your health in four ways:
- Sleep habits can reduce insulin resistance and diabetes risk.
- Good sleep reduces cardiovascular health risk.
- Healthy sleep habits protect against weight gain.
- Better sleep can boost the immune system.
In this final part, we’re going to talk about four more ways sleep can affect your health. If you stick around until the end, you’ll also find some tips for getting better sleep at night naturally...
5. Sleep helps improve memory, cognition, and brain health. If you’ve ever stayed up all night to study for a test, you know that sleep can take a huge toll on your cognitive function.
Regular sleep habits are vital to healthy brain function. Sleep strengthens your memory, attention span, and overall capacity to learn new information.
Sleep also helps repair the brain, prevent the buildup of toxins, and avoid excessive neuronal cell death.
6. Getting enough sleep helps fight off depression and anxiety. Nearly all patients with depression and anxiety also have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep. And those with insomnia are two to three and a half times more likely to develop depression.
72.7% of children with major depressive disorder also deal with hypersomnia (excessive sleep).
Studies suggest that a healthy sleep schedule may help improve depression and anxiety symptoms.
7. Healthy sleep can help protect against multiple forms of cancer. Several studies link both too much and too little sleep to many types of cancer, including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
Researchers believe this has to do with melatonin levels. Healthy melatonin levels can help:
- Prevent cancer cells from spreading
- Eliminate free radicals
- Inhibit abnormal cell growth
- Increase a tumor-suppressing protein called p53
A normal sleep schedule may help prevent cancer and reduce cancer growth.
8. Good sleep habits may reduce autoimmune disorders. Sleep deprivation may increase inflammation throughout the body and activate Th17 cells. Together, this creates the perfect storm for autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), and inflammatory bowel disease.
Following a regular sleep schedule may help reduce the effects of these disorders.
What do you do if you can’t sleep?
Getting the right amount of sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Sleep can help protect your body from disease and help you live a longer, healthier life.
If you have trouble sleeping, we have some science-based tips for you.
Try these 10 tips for better sleep:
- Don’t look at bright screens before bed.
- Use a blue light filter on your smartphone after 6 p.m.
- Avoid caffeine after noon.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Don’t eat late at night.
- Try meditation in the evening.
- Upgrade your bedding.
- Exercise early in the day.
- Don’t drink too much water before bed.
- Take a natural sleep aid like melatonin.
If none of these tips helps you get a better night’s sleep, it may be time to see a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder.
To your health,
President, Clear Health Now