We spend one third of our lives in bed so we need to get the best sleep possible. Sound familiar?

Sleep habits and patterns have been studied and restudied.  No less than Harvard Medical school suggests the following for good sleep:

  • maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep
  • making your bedroom a comfortable sleep environment
  • establishing a calming pre-sleep routine
  • going to sleep when you're truly tired
  • not watching the clock at night
  • using light to your advantage by exposing yourself to light during the day and limiting light exposure in the evening
  • not napping too close to your regular bedtime
  • eating and drinking enough—but not too much or too soon before bedtime
  • exercising regularly—but not too soon before bedtime

 

The list makes sense but the first item -maintaining a regular schedule- may be getting a second look.

Yahoo News is reporting on an international study that reaches this encouraging conclusions - Go ahead and sleep in this weekend—it could help you live longer.

A team of researchers from three countries, including the US, analyzed over 40,000 people and found that for people under age 65, sleeping five hours or less seven days a week was associated with a 65 percent higher mortality rate compared to those who slept six or seven hours consistently. Yikes.  Looks like the Greeks are right again. In all things moderation. ( Greek poet Hesiod (c.700 bc), ‘observe due measure; moderation is best in all things’)

Interestingly, more sleep isn't better that less sleep.  ":At the same time, people who slept longer than seven hours consistently also had an increased mortality rate."

So, it looks like Goldie Locks was right! Not too little and not too much is juuust right.  so how do you find the balance.  The Study indicates "those who slept short hours during the week and long hours on the weekend had the same mortality rate as those who consistently slept the ideal six or seven hours."

Study authors note, “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”