Sunday, June 19, 2016

Finding sleep's sweet spot

I'm a night owl, and if I go to bed early, I don't sleep well, spend a lot of time in bed awake. Now that I am retired and can go to bed when I am sleepy and sleep until I am refreshed, I am much healthier. With summer here, I am trying to get to bed earlier so I can get up and do some yard work before it gets too hot. Haven't been successful so far!

And I have some neighbors who come home late at night with their car stereos booming, disturbing everybody's sleep.

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Finding sleep's sweet spot
Study connects early bedtime and 'adequate' sleep with heart healthy choices
University of Delaware

No one is telling you what time to go to bed with this, but researchers are making a strong case that the duration and timing of your sleep are closely associated with whether your behavior is heart-healthy.

Night owls should take special note of a new study by University of Delaware researcher Freda Patterson and collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of Arizona College of Medicine, who found that the early-to-bed, early-to-rise approach aligns much better with cardiovascular health.

Sleep deficits and poor-quality sleep have been linked to obesity and a myriad of health problems, but this study shows that when it comes to promoting healthy hearts, it's not a matter of getting more sleep. It's a matter of getting adequate sleep at optimal times.

Doing that seems to reduce the kind of behaviors - smoking, sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices - that put hearts in harm's way.


The study defined short sleep as less than six hours, adequate sleep as seven to eight hours, and long sleep as nine hours or more. Respondents were categorized by their self-reported sleep-timing or "chronotype" - whether they considered themselves a morning person, more morning than evening, more evening than morning, or an evening person.


"We know that people who are active tend to have better sleep patterns, and we also know that people who do not get their sleep are less likely to be active," Patterson said. "A pressing question for practitioners and researchers is how do you leverage one to improve the other?"


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