Minding your bedtime? New research says it can reduce your mortality risk over 30 percent
When it comes to the factors that influence longevity and mortality, lifestyle essentials like regular exercise and a healthy diet are generally top of mind. Another essential? Getting enough sleep. And according to new research published in the journal Sleep, getting into a good sleep schedule is just as important as how much of it you’re getting. Here’s what to know.
Studying the relationship between sleep and mortality risk
For this study, researchers looked at data from over 1,700 people who had participated in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Sleep Study.
The participants had worn activity monitors on their wrists, completed clinical sleep studies, and filled out sleep questionnaires.
Upon their analysis, researchers found that participants who had regular sleep schedules and sufficient sleep duration had a 39% lower mortality risk than adults with irregular sleep schedules and insufficient sleep duration.
As lead author of the study, Joon Chung Ph.D., explains in a news release, “Our study found that objectively regular sleepers tended to outlive objectively irregular sleepers regardless of major sleep disorder,” adding, “If sleep were an eight-hour pill, it would be beneficial to take the full dose at regular times, consistently.”
How to get your sleep schedule on track
Based on these findings, it’s clear getting enough sleep—and consistent sleep at that—is super important, which entails getting your circadian rhythm in check.
According to naturopathic sleep doctor Catherine Darley, N.D., you can start by standardizing the time you wake up and go to bed, even on the weekends. “Ideally your wake and rise time should not vary more than an hour (or even a half-hour) each day,” Darley previously told mindbodygreen, adding that waking at an inconsistent time “makes it so a person isn’t predictably sleepy at the same time and can’t sleep as well.”
That logic applies to bedtime as well, so you’ll want to have a solid wind-down routine in place, and a quality sleep supplement on your nightstand. While we don’t recommend taking melatonin habitually for sleep, we can get behind research-backed ingredients like magnesium and PharmaGABA® , which have been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. To that end, here are our top picks for the best quality sleep supplements.
Other factors that can positively influence your sleep schedule include having a consistent daily routine (think mealtimes, workout times, etc.), getting natural light during the day, which stimulates your circadian rhythm, as well as limiting caffeine and alcohol later in the day.
Check out our full guide to resetting your sleep schedule for more information.
Sleep is an essential pillar to our health—so much so that people with consistent and sufficient sleep schedules have a lower risk of mortality. So whether you want to live longer or feel more energized in your day to day life, it would seem the answer is sleep either way.