New Research Finds Sleep Is As Important As Exercise, Diet

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CLEVELAND, OH (Newsource) – New research finds sleep may be just as important to heart health as diet and exercise, but the CDC says a third of U.S. adults get less sleep than recommended.

“There’s a lot of things you can live without but you can’t live without sleep,” explained Dr. Marri Horvat with the Sleep Disorders Center at Cleveland Clinic.

The research finds people 50 and older who sleep five hours or less a night faced a 30-percent higher risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, like cancer, diabetes and heart disease over time compared to those who slept at least seven hours a night.

At age 60 it was a 32-percent increased risk and at 70 a 40-percent greater risk.

“You’re more irritable when you’re not sleeping enough or getting good quality sleep. It affects your relationships. There’s really not a component of your life or your body that can’t be affected by your sleep,” said Dr. Horvat.

It’s recommended that adults ages 18 and older get seven or more hours of sleep per night. Dr. Horvat says to listen to your body.

“I really emphasize with my patients, it’s not hey, I function okay on six hours. It’s do you feel good on that amount of sleep that you’re getting? Do you feel well rested like you don’t need more sleep?,” continued Dr. Horvat.

The CDC suggests improving your sleep with some new habits, like going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. You should also keep your bedroom quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature and avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed; all things that can disrupt sleep.

This study did have some limitations: most of the subjects were white men and it relied on self-reported data, which can be less reliable.

The American Heart Association has also added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist, along with quitting smoking and getting active.


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