Early to Bed, Longer to Live

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Get to bed a little earlier and you could extend your life. That's what a study suggests.

In the meta-analysis, where researchers pooled together the results of a body of research, it appeared that getting at least 6 hours of shut-eye each night was the ticket to live longer. Any less than that was associated with a 12% increase in mortality risk. So, early to bed means a long, healthy life.

The ZZZs You Need
Ahhh, to sleep. Perchance to live longer. Scientists aren't exactly sure why spending at least 6 hours sleeping each night is so essential. It may be that short sleep triggers chronic health problems by stimulating people's appetites -- and thus setting the stage for unhealthful overeating and weight gain. Or a lack of sleep may increase levels of inflammation and stress hormones in the body. Whatever the reason, make ‘early to bed’ a priority every night in order to get enough sleep and feel refreshed and revived each morning. (Fix your sleep right now with this bedtime checklist of do's and don'ts.)

The Sweet Sleep Spot
Good sleep improves your mood, your immune system, and even your metabolism. But don't overdo a good thing. In the study, sleeping too much appeared to be even worse for longevity than sleeping too little. Getting more than 8 hours of sleep per night was associated with a 30% increase in mortality risk in the study participants. It's not clear why, but researchers suspect that underlying health problems may cause people to sleep extra long. Treating those underlying, energy-depriving health problems could be another key to living a longer life.

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