It turns out that sleeping for just five hours can be bad for your health – so how long should you?

According to a new study published in PLoS Medicine, sleeping for just five hours each night can be unhealthy. The study further noted that those who slept five hours or less and were aged 50 had a “30% higher risk of multiple diseases than those who slept seven hours.” In fact, the study that analyzed the sleep of 7,864 British civil servants suggested that shorter sleep at age 50 was also associated with a higher risk of death during the study period, mainly linked to the increased risk of chronic disease.

The intention of the study was to assess sleep‘s association with “multimorbidity, common in the elderly, which remains poorly understood”. Reviewing data from the Whitehall II cohort study to extract sleep duration at ages 50, 60, and 70, research has tracked multimorbidity over a 25-year follow-up period.

What is a sleep cycle?

Based on research, understanding a normal sleep cycle is paramount. During a normal sleep period, one progresses through four to five sleep cycles, depending on sleepfoundation.org. “Each sleep cycle is made up of four individual stages of sleep. The four stages of sleep are further divided into two categories: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. These categories are important because what happens during REM sleep is radically different from what happens during non-REM phases.

The first three stages of sleep are made up of non-REM activities such as “it is easier to be awake during these first two stages”, the body is in deep sleep in stage 3 which is “recovery mode”. This is where “overall brain activity slows and shows a telltale pattern of activity pulses1 thought to help prevent unwanted awakenings,” he noted.

The site also mentions that the fourth stage is REM sleep. “During REM periods, brain activity rises to levels similar to those of the waking state – which explains why REM is associated with strongest dreams. As breathing and heart rate increase during REM sleep, most muscles are paralyzed, preventing us from having those vivid dreams,” he added.

Notably, each sleep cycle lasts between 70 and 120 minutes.

Why is sleep essential?

According sleepfoundation.orgsleep allows the brain and body to slow down and engage in recovery processes, promoting better physical and mental performance the next day and over the long term.

Experts recommend seven or eight hours of sleep each night. “Currently, due to stress and hectic schedules, around 35% of people are unable to get a good night’s sleep. This, in turn, tends to affect their health,” said Dr Satish Bhalgat, dentist specializing in sleep dentistry, ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital.

Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep every night (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

* Sleep reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

*Sleep is not only essential for your physical well-being but also for your mental well-being. “A good sleep routine will help you fight depression, stress and even inflammation. It will also improve the function of your immune system,” said Dr. Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director and Head of Respirology, Fortis Hospitals , Faridabad.Adding, Dr. Aniket Mule, Internal Medicine Consultant, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road said that one can experience memory problems, poor cognitive health, weight gain, low libido, heart problems, poor decision making, poor judgment, irritability, restlessness, loneliness, skin problems, weakened immune system, depression, increased appetite and even puffiness the eyes.

*It can reduce the risk of road and work accidents.

*Tackling ghrelin and leptin, which are responsible for appetite. Insufficient sleep can lead to food cravings and binge eating.

Dr Jha urged people to aim for “eight hours of uninterrupted sleep”. “Constant lack of adequate sleep is associated with risk of heart attack, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, reduced memory and stroke. It can also lead to obesity and depression” , Dr. Jha told indianexpress.com while explaining that “the reason for the insufficient sleep, in most situations, is curable”. “Science has proven that if someone sleeps 7-8 hours a day and doesn’t wake up in between, concentration and efficiency improve dramatically,” he added.

It is imperative to talk to an expert and improve your sleep pattern, advised Dr. Mule. “Get at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep to function at your best. It will keep you happier and healthier, maintain normal blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and diabetes, sharpen your memory, boost your metabolism, improve your immunity, increase your productivity at work and improve your mood,” a said Dr. Mule at this outlet. .

Dr. Vikrant Shah, Consultant Physician, Intensivist and Infectious Disease Specialist, Zen Multispecialty Hospital Chembur shared some tips that can help

*To sleep well, respect the same sleeping and waking times.
* Try to avoid any disturbance during your sleep. Do not use electronic gadgets and do not watch television before sleeping.
* You can read or listen to soft music before sleeping.
* Try to maintain a good room temperature. This will help induce sleep. Avoid too much lighting and disturbances in the room. Try blocking out the light by using curtains or blinds. The room should be dark and quiet.
*Use an appropriate mattress and pillow, as recommended by the doctor.
* Do not drink coffee, alcohol or sodas right before bedtime.
* Try to avoid heavy meals just before sleeping as they can give you acidity.
* Exercise and eat a balanced diet to sleep peacefully.
* Try to stay stress-free while you sleep or don’t overthink things. You can also meditate.

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About Anne Wurtsbach

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