Happy New Year!
It’s a time for a fresh new start. And if you want to kick 2021 off on the right foot, there’s one simple New Year’s resolution that can add years to your life: Sticking to a regular sleep schedule.
In his Perfect Sleep Protocol, Dr. Fred Pescatore says, “You can significantly reduce your risk of chronic disease simply by sleeping the right amount every night, on a regular schedule.”
Two years ago, researchers at Duke University Medical Center reported on a remarkable 10-year study that included more than 1,900 volunteers between the ages of 54 and 93. Each participant wore a device that carefully tracked three primary measurements:
- Sleep start time
- Sleep duration
- Sleep regularity
Throughout the study, researchers also tracked cardiometabolic measures. In their analysis, the Duke team found that participants who were the most consistent in their sleep start time and sleep duration had lower cardiometabolic risks in these categories:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Fasting blood sugar
- Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C)
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
The researchers also found that greater sleep irregularity was linked to increased perceived stress and depression—two factors that reduce the quality of life.
And it’s because of results like these that Dr. Pescatore tells all his patients, “Sleep has to become a priority. There are just too many risk factors associated with too little sleep.”
Dr. Pescatore believes getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night is key to maintaining your health. And after years of research, he offers several easy tips to help you keep your sleep schedule on track.
For instance, he strongly recommends that you turn off your television, smartphone, tablet, and computer at least one hour before bedtime.
He explains, “We’ve evolved to expect darkness at night, and light during the day. So when we stare at the bright lights of screens right up until the time we try to go to sleep, it should be no surprise that our bodies are confused.”
Dr. Pescatore also recommends exercising regularly. Research is clear that movement is essential to a good night’s sleep. In fact, one study found that 150 minutes of vigorous exercise a week—that’s only about 20 minutes a day—nets a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.