Why some people live longer than others can seem fundamentally mysterious but science continues to uncover pathways to longevity. The good news is, many habits conducive to a long life are often inexpensive. In fact, research published in the journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience has proposed a free way to achieve longevity.
According to the research, keeping regular sleeping patterns can pave the way to a longer life.
“Sleep is one of the processes deeply affected by ageing; however few studies evaluating sleep in long-lived individuals (aged over 85) have been reported to date,” wrote the study researchers.
To remedy this, the researchers sought to characterise the sleep patterns and biochemical profile of oldest old individuals and compare them to young adults and older adults.
A series of tests were performed throughout the study, such as polysomnography, also called a sleep study – a comprehensive test used to diagnose sleep disorders – and blood tests to assess cholesterol levels.
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Having a high level of triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.
The findings therefore suggest that regular sleeping patterns can reduce the risk of heart disease – a major killer worldwide.
“Taken together with the favourable lipid profile, these results contribute with evidence to the importance of sleep and lipid metabolism regulation in the maintenance of longevity in humans,” the researchers concluded.
A lipid profile is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
“While it may seem like a good idea to try to catch up on sleep after a bad night, doing so on a regular basis can also disrupt your sleep routine,” explains the NHS.
Winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed.
The NHS proposes lots of ways to relax:
- A warm bath (not hot) will help your body reach a temperature that’s ideal for rest
- Writing “to do” lists for the next day can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions
- Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Do not exercise vigorously, as it will have the opposite effect
- relaxation CDs work by using a carefully narrated script, gentle hypnotic music and sound effects to relax you
- Reading a book or listening to the radio relaxes the mind by distracting it
- There are a number of apps designed to help with sleep.
- Avoid using smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices for an hour or so before you go to bed as the light from the screen on these devices may have a negative effect on sleep.
“If you need more ideas, you can get help and advice from a GP,” notes the NHS.