Sleep is a 'cure-all'
A new study out today suggests that
sleeping well is the key to beating a variety of conditions. Those
who go to bed at a decent hour and get up early are less likely to
be struck by Alzheimer's, heart problems, obesity, diabetes and
The likelihood of getting a
refreshing eight hours sleep can seem low if you live in a city
centre or busy town with plenty of artificial light keeping you
awake. In London, a city bathed in artificial light, most people
long to be in bed by 11.2015pm and wake at 8.30am but rarely get
their preferred nine hours 15 minutes.
Scientists from University of Surrey
have found a rural community whose cure-all for life is
preindustrial age routine. They are convinced that the natural
sleeping habits of people in Baependi, in south-east Brazil, could
shed light on the positive effect sleep has on illness, with a
large catalogue of diseases being associated with sleep
Residents in Baependi go to bed at
9.20pm and wake up at 6.30am, enjoying more than nine hours of
sleep. Dr Malcolm von Schantz, leading the study at Surrey
University, has said: "In big cities, the availability of cheap
electricity has brought us both artificial lighting and other
electronic devices that compete with us going to sleep at night. As
a result, most of us go to bed much later than our ancestors did
and many of us sleep less."
"Even though the people in Baeoendi have access to
electricity and TV, their daily rhythms are much closer to previous
generations. Studying this population is like being able to look
back at the past generations through binoculars and provide insight
into the benefit this natural pattern may be having on their
health." The joint Universities of Surrey and Sao Paulo study has
been published in the respected journal Scientific Reports.
Silentnight sleep expert, Dr Nerina
comments: "I have encountered many people who have become anxious
about their supposed sleep deprivation because they feel they might
not be achieving the 'normal' amount of sleep. Eight hours is a
good average to work towards. If you are regularly struggling to
sleep or sleeping too much you should review my sleep tips to make
sure you are following the best lifestyle practices for optimal
sleep." For sleep tips and advice on how to get a good night's
sleep from Dr Nerina, visit our Sleep Toolkit.