A new study showed that men who sleep fewer than five hours a day are at high risk for contracting cardiovascular diseases. They have twice the risk of getting a heart problem compared to those who get 7 to 8 hours of rest each night. The observational study stated that although it could not conclude that short sleep causes cardiovascular problems it could not also absolutely say that sleeping more will reduce the risk. What the study suggests is that sleep is important and this should be a forewarning to get enough rest and the right kind of sleep.
There is a Lack of Sleep Worldwide
Back in the 1940s, 59% of Americans slept 7 hours or more and today, the average is 6.8 hours according to Gallup polls. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of shut-eye for adults 26-64 years. Unfortunately, many countries in the world do not manage to get enough sleep and this shortage of winks can cause many unwanted side effects from poor concentration and productivity loss to grumpy moods and onset of diseases.
Shorter sleep is attributed as well to many factors including age with those over 66 years getting by on 6.5 hours of sleep while babies and kids under 2 need 14 hours each day to accommodate the demands of physical growth based on a UK study. There are also sleep differences between men and women. Several self-reports and studies indicate that women sleep more than men (Burgard and Ailshire, 2013). The study explained that the gap is due to work and family responsibilities with women having more opportunities for napping or early bedtime during childbearing years.
How to Get More and Better Sleep
There are many causes of sleep loss including stress, anxiety, depression, side effects of medication, and sleep disorder. Moreover, habits and lifestyles also affect the quantity and quality of sleep. Drinking alcohol, use of sleeping pills, poor diets, lack of movement and irregular sleep schedule are other culprits.
The good news is there are several ways to improve sleep quantity and quality. Getting the right mattress, dimming lights, installing blackout curtains or shutters and avoiding electronics just before bedtime induce sleep. Exercise, zero to low-sugar diets, eliminating heavy meals, skipping work at home and ditching heavy meals before going to bed help in falling asleep better and quicker. Relaxation techniques also get rid of stress and anxiety.
The bottom line is, older men can reduce the risks of diseases and illnesses by getting the recommended sleeping time. Improving lifestyles, diets, and exercise as well as handling stress and anxiety can help achieve better and longer sleep among men.