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Why Sleep Deprivation Over The Age Of 40 Is Dangerous

Mature women sitting in coach, heads resting together, eyes closed

We all know we should be probably sleeping more. The human body lusts after rest. Seven to eight hours is the nightly aim your sensible self should be striving for. Forget any quips about Maggie Thatcher and four hours because that led to Thatcherism, and we’re in a big mess now.

However as our bodies age, our sleeping patterns change. We become lighter sleepers, more prone to waking at the slightest disturbance. Childhoods spend comatose in the back of sweaty cars while on the way to a caravan holiday on the coast are such a distant memory, they may as well be a dream. Adults over forty also tend to sleep in shorter spurts. None of this is good, especially in the era of the blue screen glow from bedside electronics. Mentally you become zapped, and your body suffers.

In the Guardian today, the British Sleep Council claims that if you don’t sleep for at least six hours every night, your chance of dying young is 12% higher than someone who manages the optimum amount. Health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are associated with a lack of sleep, as well as memory and concentration issues. There’s also the factor of prematurely aged skin.

The UK government is so concerned about the effects of middle-aged people not getting enough shut-eye that they’re launching a new campaign to tackle the issue. The Public Health England campaign says that 20 to 30 % of ageing is biological, while the rest is actual “decay or deterioration” caused by not taking care of oneself, including not managing sufficient sleeping hours.

Scary, isn’t it? So if you’re reading and worried about your sleeping patterns talk to your GP, or try practicing mindfulness to lull you into slumber every night. There are also breathing techniques relaxed yoga practicing souls swear by. While we might be living in the age of distraction, it’d be nice to live through it too.

Via The Guardian

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