According to the Center for Disease Control, adults aged 18-60 need at least seven hours of sleep a night. As we get older, that number increases to eight or nine. However, for those 50 and up, if you’re not getting a full night of sleep you may want to pay attention to the results of a new UK study that found sleeping less as you get older may decrease years from your life.
European researchers from the University College London and Université Paris Cité recently published the study in the Journal of The Public Library of Science– Medicine. By monitoring 8,000 British civil service workers at 50, 60 and 70 years old during the course of 25 years, the researchers found that short sleep durations were linked to the onset of chronic disease and multimorbidity.
The short sleep durations described in the study equates to five or less hours sleep per night. The participants who did not get a full night’s rest were found to be at higher risk of developing multiple chronic diseases such as heart disease, depression, cancer or diabetes. Participants that slept five hours a night compared to those the same age that slept seven hours a night were found to be 30 percent more likely to develop one or more of these chronic illnesses.
Participants who are older than 50 found their risks of chronic illness to increase as they age. For those in their 60s who got less than five hours of sleep, the risk of developing a comorbidity was 32 percent. For those in their 70s, the percentage climbs to a 40 percent risk.
We can add living longer as another reason to get your beauty sleep and make sure it lasts at least seven hours. “To ensure a better night’s sleep, it is important to promote good sleep hygiene, such as making sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature before sleeping,” advised lead study author and epidemiologist Dr. Severine Sabia in a news release. “It’s also advised to remove electronic devices and avoid large meals before bedtime. Physical activity and exposure to light during the day might also promote good sleep.”