Want to live longer? Sleep better!
A new study finds that men who battle insomnia have quadruple the risk of an early death--and if you're suffering from disease along with your sleepless nights, your death risk can be even higher than that.
Researchers recruited 1,741 people who answered questions about their sleep habits and spent a night tossing and turning in a sleep lab. Men in the study had an average age of 50 and were tracked for 14 years, while women had an average age of 47 and were tracked for 10 years.
Roughly one-fifth of the men died during the study, with the self-described insomniacs who slept for less than six hours a night having four times the death rate of the good sleepers.
What's more, the self-described insomniacs who had poor sleep and suffered from diabetes or high blood pressure had seven times the death risk, according to the study in the journal Sleep.
Interestingly, men who got less than six hours of sleep a night but did not consider themselves to be insomniacs did not suffer from the increased death risk... and self- described insomniacs who actually slept well also did not have a higher risk of dying.
Women didn't seem to have the same death risk... but researchers say that doesn't mean they should be happy about their sleepless nights. Because women live longer, and those in the study were younger and followed for a shorter period, researchers say more study is needed before they can draw any conclusions.
I wouldn't be surprised if they've already applied for the grant.
But whether you're male or female, young or old, one thing is clear: Sleep problems can have some pretty significant health repercussions.
Other studies have found that poor sleep can increase your risk of everything from obesity to dementia to depression... and, of course, it can make you grouchy all day.
But if you're looking to improve your snooze, don't turn to over-the-counter sleep drugs or risky prescription pills.
In many cases, simple lifestyle changes--like reducing your stress or avoiding late-day caffeine--can help you sleep better. And when those changes fail, there are proven natural remedies you can turn to that are far safer and more effective than any drugs your doctor will offer.
Many people have had tremendous success with valerian root or valerian tea about half an hour before bed. Others find that a supplement with a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, taken in the evening, can help make sleep come more easily. Music, scents, total darkness and a comfortable pillow can also make all the difference in the world.
And that's not the only sleep study making headlines--keep reading to find out what bad bed habits can do to teens.