Good quality sleep, night after night, is essential for virtually every aspect of your mental and physical health.
That's why getting enough is essential to make you feel younger and look younger and stay healthy for longer.
Evidence of science about how sleep deprivation and aging of our bodies is alarming. A night with bad sleep can undermine your immune system, while chronic bad sleep increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and diseases such as dementia and cancer.
More recently, it has been shown that telomere shortens, the protective caps & # 39; at the end of our strands of DNA indicating the biological age. Every time our cells divide, a little bit of our telomeres disappear. And when they are gone, they are gone. So the last thing we want to do is speed up our telomeres by sleeping badly.
Sleep quality of good quality, night after night, is essential for virtually every aspect of your mental and physical health, say TV twin doctors Alexander and Christoffer of Tulleken
Shortening of telomeres is linked to heart disease, chronic stress, depression and obesity, all of which have a terrible impact on your quality of life.
Sleep is clearly important for both our health in the short term and the long term, so we consider sleep better as one of our four pillars of anti-aging, and that is why we are showing you today how you can improve your sleep.
We are terrified of the thought that we do not get enough sleep. As doctors we worked epic hours – Chris hallucinated from fatigue and fell asleep while talking to patients. He knows he is a terrible doctor between 3 am and 4 am.
X spent a few years traveling between North America, where he had a job and a son, and the UK, where he presented television, and collected more than 50 transatlantic flights a year. He got 4 stones and fell asleep during dinner, during meetings and during filming.
But what can you do to improve your sleep, or at least improve how well you function if you are not optimally equipped?
As part of our new BBC2 series, The Twinstitute, we tried to find out. With ourselves as guinea pigs, we have called up 30 sets of identical twins using their matching DNA to try out memory tests, physical challenges and nutrition-based experiments to investigate a number of popular theories about health and well-being.
We used these experiments and other research to compile the anti-aging series that will be run in the Mail this week. On Saturday we have focused on the brain and how you can improve and protect your cognitive function.
Today we unravel the mysteries of sleep and show you how to fully equip the time you spend in bed – so that you can live healthy for longer.
DO YOU GET SEVEN HOURS?
The Sleep Council estimates that a third of Britons only get five to six hours of sleep per night and that 12 percent of Britons sleep less than five hours a night.
This is not in line with official recommendations – American charity organization National Sleep Foundation believes that adults must strive for seven to nine hours (seven to eight for over-65s).
We ourselves, on average, five to seven hours – not nearly enough to function properly and prevent premature aging. We usually fall asleep too late and there is never a possibility for a lie, so exhaustion accumulates.
Paradoxically, Chris has discovered that a young child has imposed a good sleep routine. For many, it can have a terrible impact on sleep – no wonder people say a child gets older.
Life is impossible if you start at 5 am and you go to bed at midnight, so Chris and his wife have worked on a decent evening routine.
The screens are not always turned off for 9 o'clock in the evening, but life is more bearable with light off with 11 – even if their 18 month old daughter she & # 39; wakes up at night.
Lifespan? No, think about healthspan
There is nothing older than sickness – and some will wonder, what makes it feel like living longer if the quality of those years is bad?
While life expectancy is 82.9 years for women and 79.2 for men, many people remain healthy to 65, according to Age UK. After that, our risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke and cancer increases, causing millions of people to lose their lives over the past fifteen years of their lives due to ill health.
That is why experts increasingly focus on health care & # 39 ;: the number of years they lived in good health. The idea is to extend those healthy years.
Scientists investigate the processes that control age-related decline and our disease risk, and many say that a healthy relationship with sleep is one of the most important ways to extend both your health span and your life …
We all know how grim it can be to function after a bad night – but the evil of even a night of bad sleep was graphically illustrated by one of our experiments for The Twinstitute.
We have separated two sets of identical twins in two camps and have ensured that our twin guinea pigs are kept awake for 30 hours.
As they forced themselves to stay awake, our twin testers noticed a shocking drop in their reaction times and judgment-as if their brains were aging. goods.
To see if there are any tricks to protect you from a bad night's sleep, a team of twins had an extra four hours of sleep before going to bed four hours before the experiment; the other team had allowed 12 naps of 20 minutes during the experiment to see if the snoozes could refresh them.
We thought the power-nappers would have an advantage, because power-napping proved effective in many studies.
To test their risk assessment, we asked our two twin pairs to inflate balloons until just before they burst. Then reaction times were measured by how quickly they responded to a light that flashed on a board.
After 30 hours of sleep deprivation, the nappers were the most affected – the bursting balloon rose to 24%, but the sofa-sleepers only burst 10% of their balloons.
The reaction times of the sofa beds did not really change, but the reaction times of the nappers dropped considerably.
As a final test, we asked both sets of twins to try and land a 747 jumbo jet in a simulated cockpit. It requires risk management, coordination, memory and nerve, all of which are hampered by a lack of sleep, and which tend to deteriorate as we age.
Everyone struggled with confusion and disorientation, but two planes were successfully landed – both by the twins who had done the sofa bed.
Scans these findings back, with studies showing that insomnia seems to obstruct the frontal lobe of the brain, depriving sleep of making bad decisions.
This ties in with research showing that sleep is when your brain removes toxins (including the plaques that may be a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease), negative thoughts and all the trivial details that you no longer need – clean up the garbage and allow the brain to rejuvenate.
DO NOT drive CLOSE AFTER CLOSE
Poor performance due to lack of sleep has been shown as being drunk.
A 2017 study by the University of Tel Aviv in Israel showed that brain cells – or neurons – that are deprived of sleep, react more slowly and release weaker signals than reassuring neurons. This is perhaps the reason why fatigue feels like you are under the influence of alcohol – with the same memory and concentration drops.
And that is why driving a car (or a 747 countries) is as dangerous as you are tired. The exhausted brain actually needs more time to see things – slowing down messages from eyes to brain to muscles.
Sleep is also when the brain is repaired: short-term memories are transformed into long-term memories, thought processes are organized and new brain connections are built up, thus restoring them.
Large studies have shown that poor sleep can even lead to brain shrinkage over time. The theory is that when you are deprived of sleep, cells for brain waste removal prune the cells they are trying to preserve, causing the brain to age quickly.
TO BE TIRED TO COMBAT RESISTANCE JUNK FOOD FAIRS
A lack of sleep certainly makes you vulnerable to cravings, which can lead to overeating and weight gain, years of your life.
During the day Chris says that he can resist the snack machine without too much trouble. At night, when he is tired, it is a different story. Pizza and candy are the main ingredient.
A lack of sleep certainly makes you vulnerable to cravings, which can lead to overeating and weight gain, years of your life
It is not clear why this happens. It is probably partly because the effort to resist the temptation becomes too great, but there are hormonal changes that are associated with sleep deprivation that seem to stimulate the consumption of high-calorie foods and even induce a temporary condition such as type 2 diabetes.
This could explain why people who do not sleep well are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which is related to dementia and cognitive decline, causing your & # 39; health span & # 39; decreases.
The chemicals that are released during sleep soothe the inflammation and enhance immunity. Studies have shown that better sleep can lead to fewer colds and immune-related disorders, and even to a lower risk of cancer.
So sleeping close to eight hours a night can make a dramatic difference to our health, how our brains age and how well we can use them as we age.
But how many of us let bedtime glide with an hour to see another episode of that box, to drink something, or do a bit more work, thinking it will not make a difference? Well, there is good evidence that it certainly does.
- The Twinstitute is on BBC2 on Wednesday at 20:30.
Twelve steps to a good night's sleep
Most sleep experts recommend using the same sleep schedule – even on weekends (that means no lies).
Changes in a routine affect our body clock and cause what Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, & jetlag & # 39; has mentioned – it is like traveling through time zones around the world week.
When the Medical Research Council examined the sleeping habits and health of more than 800 men and women, they discovered that those who & # 39; on social jet lag & # 39; were more likely to be obese (which means that they held several hours a week to the weekend) – which is not good for your health in the long term.
Most sleep experts recommend using the same sleep schedule – even on weekends (file photo)
One theory is that the change in schedule affects appetite hormones or how our body processes fat and sugar.
Try to work out this calculation if you have a social jet lag:
- Take the middle of your sleep during a normal work night. For example, if you sleep on work days from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., the center point is 2 hours.
- Compare this to your midpoint in weekends and holidays. A sleep pattern of 1 hour to 11 hours at the weekend gives a center point of 6 hours.
- The difference in the two times is your social jet lag. Experts believe that a two-hour difference could be enough to cause health problems.
It is not just the social jet lag that conspires to destroy our sleep. As we get older, when sleep becomes demonstrably more important, we may struggle to get enough of it.
Did you know…
Regular exercise makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to a healthier sleep – but sporadically or at bedtime it is harder to fall asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation in the US.
Studies show that between 50 and 70 percent of the elderly struggle to get the restorative sleep that their brains need. Our brains use signs of exposure to natural light to activate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin – and then switch it off.
One theory is that our ability to absorb daylight (through the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye) decreases as we age. After the age of 60, as much as 40 percent of the daylight is not absorbed, which affects the body clock that tells us when we need to feel drowsy and wake up.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
Chris has made it a mission to sleep better – a young child helps, he says. After all, if he and his wife were to give their daughter a regular routine, why would not they do the same for themselves? Weekend readings are largely impossible, but he tries to lie in bed at 10.30 pm and lights up at 11 p.m.
Reducing alcohol intake is important here – he only drinks social and unless it is a special occasion, he is still out for the count before 23.30 on weekends. Here are his tips for better sleep:
- Strive to exercise outdoors in the morning – getting in the light of a brisk walk will help to set your body clock and wake you up, and exercise has been shown in many studies to increase sleep depth. Even if you only do a ten-minute walk around the block and ten push-ups, it still counts – or even five squats in the garden. Just do something outside.
- Take a walk after dinner (preferably at dusk to help your brain respond to the changing light and prepare for sleep). Chris always means to do this and when he does, he sleeps better.
- Shake your body clock by dimming the lights in the evening to create a & # 39; false twilight & # 39; create in your home.
- Soundproof and lightproof your bedroom and remove or switch off all electronic devices. Do not play games, watch exciting films or work on your laptop in bed. Chris has a 40W lamp in his bedside lamp to read a book – the phone stays in the kitchen overnight. The book is typically a bit factual, bright and cheerful: Bill Bryson is a great time to read!
- Avoid eating late in the evening. When your digestive system works to process food, you will not sleep as deeply. If you like snacking after dinner (as we both do!), Then snack on fruit but no solid food after 9pm.
- Avoid citrus fruits in the evening because they can cause heartburn and irritate the bladder. They can also rot your teeth.
- We find, as 40-year-old men, that limiting the fluid before bedtime is important. Rising more than once during the night is disturbing. Chris also has a loo-lamp – a vague orange LED, which means that he does not have to click on the light. It is motion sensor activated (Jeswell toilet night light, £ 6.99, amazon.co.uk).
- Meditation is good for sleep. Concentrate on the breath and do not pursue any intrusive thoughts. You come out quickly. To learn how to do it, place a meditation app on your smartphone and do it five minutes a day.
- Earplugs and a sleeping mask are good for blocking light and sound and are comfortable as soon as you get used to it.
- Avoid sleeping pills and alcohol because they disturb sleep. Even if you fall asleep, it is not soothing. The fact is that there are no real shortcuts.
- Dutten is generally a no-no, unless you have to stay up for a long time or there is an exceptional reason (eg jetlag or a child who sleeps all night and you have a job interview the next day). Some people can do it, but for many it disrupts the ability to fall and stay asleep. It is much better to stay awake all day and sleep well at night.
- Do not do anything in bed except for sex, sleep and some light reading. Breakfast not in bed. Do not work in bed. If you can not sleep, get out of bed, make a cup of chamomile tea and read a book in low light – do not watch TV or check your phone. And do not worry about it. Then go back to bed if you feel drowsy. It will take a while to set up a routine and build the habit.
Are you sleeping enough?
How do you know if you are getting enough sleep, or if sleep is of good quality?
The checklist was devised for the National Sleep Foundation in the US by a panel of 18 experts, including sleep doctors, neuroscientists and psychiatrists, who have read and voted 277 sleep quality studies.
To check the quality of your nighttime sleep, answer & # 39; Yes & # 39; or & # 39; No & # 39; for the following questions:
- Are you asleep within half an hour after going to bed?
- Do you stay asleep all night or do you only wake up once (or twice for people aged 65 and over)?
- When you wake up, do you sleep asleep again within 20 minutes (or 30 minutes for people over 65)?
- Has you slept in bed for at least 85 percent of your time?
The more & # 39; Yes & # 39; answers you give, the better your sleep quality is. Four & # 39; Nos & # 39; and you could get into trouble.
Are you sleeping enough? A checklist was devised for the National Sleep Foundation in the US by a panel of 18 experts
YOU ASSUME A SLEEP PROBLEM
If you feel tired and tired every morning, no matter how much sleep you had the night before, you might suffer from a sleep disorder.
The next quiz, which was devised by Dr Daniel Buysse, professor of psychiatry and chair of sleep medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, can help you determine whether you should consult your doctor about your sleep.
How to score: Rarely / Never (0); Sometimes (1); Mostly / Always (2)
1. SATISFACTION: Are you satisfied with your sleep?
2. ALIENITY: Do you stay awake all day without napping?
3. TIMING: Do you sleep between 2 and 4 in the morning?
4. EFFICIENCY: Do you wake up less than 30 minutes during the night? (This includes the time it takes to fall asleep and wake up from sleep).
5. DURATION: do you sleep between six and eight hours a day?
ADD YOUR TOTAL NOW
0 = BAD SLEEPING HEALTH
10 = GOOD SLEEPING HEALTH
A low score may indicate a sleep disorder that you should discuss with your doctor.
Does a nap really work?
It has been shown that power-napping is effective in many studies, increasing memory and performance compared to no sleep at all.
A review published in 2006 in the magazine Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine reported that a nap of less than 30 minutes is awake and promotes performance and learning ability.
However, frequent long naps may be associated with higher morbidity and mortality, especially in the elderly.
Not all naps are equal and how you benefit from it probably depends on the individual, as well as how and why you take a nap.
Even for well-equipped people, naps can have benefits in terms of state of mind, alertness and cognitive performance. There are so many variables with naps (such as timing, duration, previous sleep and regularity), that studies are very variable – but there are enough to show benefits for shorter energy snaps in terms of vigilance, addition, logical reasoning and alertness.
In one study the effects of a nap were compared with caffeine and it was determined that the nap had greater and longer lasting benefits.
The midday dip in vigilance falls between 15.00 and 17.00, so this is probably the best time to take a nap. Many studies describe 19.00 to 21.00 hours as the forbidden zone. Naps here disturb the nighttime sleep, so do not fall asleep for the TV after dinner.
Keeping things short seems to be the key: ten to twenty minutes gives immediate benefits; 30 minutes takes a while to wake up; longer than 30 minutes and you could start interfering with nighttime sleep.
How alcohol wrecks sleep
Using alcohol to get you to sleep is not a good idea.
It is easier for you to lose weight because alcohol is a sedative that stimulates the production of the adenosine chemical adenosine in the brain, allowing you to fall asleep quickly.
But alcohol can also cause a dramatic clash of brain patterns in the night, which means that your sleep will not leave you refreshed.
In surveys, scans have shown that the brain initially appears to be enjoying more & # 39; delta golf activity & # 39; (when memories are strengthened and brain cells are replenished) than normal.
Using alcohol to put you to sleep can cause a dramatic clash of brain patterns in the night, meaning you will not refresh yourself
But as the night progresses, the alcohol seems to have an opposite alpha-golf activity & # 39; to trigger, which normally occurs only when the brain is awake but resting.
The alpha functions seem to compensate for the restorative efforts of the delta waves, which can cause a collision that may upset your sleep and leave you tired the next day.
Clashing brain patterns such as these are normally observed only in people with chronic pain conditions or patients who experience periodic electric shocks during their sleep during laboratory studies.
It takes the body about one hour to metabolize each unit of alcohol, so drinking during the day or in the evening is not that bad, but heavy drinking or a few drinks before bedtime can cause problems.
A few drinks is also enough to aggravate the snoring because it causes your body to relax, including the muscles of your throat. This can cause the air to flow smoothly and the tissues to vibrate faster – loud.
As a result, you also run the risk of sleep apnea, where your airway seeps through the night and your oxygen supply is temporarily blocked.
Your sleep is also likely to be disturbed by frequent nightly trips to the toilet. Normally, when we sleep, our body closes messages to and from the bladder and puts it in sleep mode.
Your brain usually soothes itself, but alcohol disturbs this process, reducing the effects of the self-calming chemicals of the brain.
And when the drink disappears, the brain remains excited. You will feel anxious and sweaty – all hangovers are a micro-withdrawal at a certain level. If this happens in the middle of the night, this will greatly disrupt sleep.
On the day nodules? Why coffee and sugar can make you feel worse
If you are tired, it is tempting to use a stimulant to stimulate you. But as we have discovered from experiments for The Twinstitute and earlier series, this is not always the solution.
We spend £ 2 billion a year on energy drinks, mostly looking for an immediate boost of energy and focus. But do they work?
We spend £ 2 billion a year on energy drinks, mostly looking for an immediate boost of energy and focus. But do they work?
As an experiment for The Twinstitute, Chris approached the content of popular drinks by bubbling his own brew into a blender. He used 16 teaspoons of sugar to simulate the amount of energy drink in many cans, using a double espresso and some vitamin B12, potassium and amino acids, which manufacturers claim helps to be alert.
To see if the drink could increase his brain power, Chris struck a large glass and then underwent a grueling simulation of air traffic control. & # 39; The drink seemed to help me concentrate and concentrate and I noticed that the caffeine increased my alertness, & # 39; he says, "but 20 minutes after the test, the sugar-skewer started to take off. & # 39;
He safely dropped every plane, but was very happy that it was just a simulation. & # 39; I had taken the recommended daily amount of sugar twice a day for a day and my body struggled to deal with it, "says Chris.
VERDICT: & # 39; Probably helped the caffeine, but the sugar could have had a negative impact on my performance – I'd better have a coffee & # 39 ;, says Chris. In other words, do not bother.
Most of us rely on caffeine in the form of coffee or tea to nurture us in the morning, but are we addicted to a drug that could spoil our sleep? And does it actually improve your brain function, as many people think?
Like many other people, Chris starts his day with coffee – in his case, a pint of weak black moment. It causes it to stand up and function (partly because it is so disgusting – it also helps you empty your bowels).
Coffee has this effect because of its effect on a chemical called adenosine, which builds up in our bodies when we are awake. Higher levels make us feel drowsy – just like our body's timer telling us to prepare for sleep. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in the brain and stops the sleepiness signal.
Most of us rely on caffeine in the form of coffee or tea to nurture us in the morning, but are we addicted to a drug that could spoil our sleep?
Coffee can also be great for other reasons: it is rich in substances called polyphenols (found in many fruits and vegetables). These lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke and increase blood flow to the brain, possibly to protect against dementia.
In the BBC2 series Trust Me, I & # 39; m A Doctor, Chris and the team have set up an experiment to compare the impact of caffeine on coffee lovers and people who never deal with things. After 12 hours of caffeine refraining, the volunteers were tested to measure mental agility, concentration and agility. They then received a caffeinated drink or a non-caffeinated placebo and did the tests again.
The team expected caffeine to give all the superpowers of the volunteers.
What about electric shock?
There is increasing interest in the use of mild electrical shock to stimulate brain function.
It is assumed that the charge improves the connectivity between brain areas. As an experiment for The Twinstitute, Xand wore a tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) headband during an attempt to simulate air traffic control.
He said it produced a tingling sensation, like an insect crawling over his scalp – but the gadget had no discernible impact on his focus. In fact, the test results showed that the Xand scores were 3 percent lower with the device.
In fact, regular caffeine drinkers performed worse than non-caffeinated drinkers in the initial tests – their reaction times were slower, they were drowsy and less alert. That is because they suffered from caffeine withdrawal.
And the regular coffee drinkers who drank the non-caffeinated drink became even worse as their withdrawal deepened. It is not surprising that the coffee drinkers got caffeine startled – but the caffeine only brought their concentration back to the normal level. It did not give them the walk they might have expected.
Even non-caffeine drinkers did not see a dramatic increase in performance after a cup of coffee. It made them anxious and shaky.
Dat is een probleem met cafeïne. Het kan de niveaus van adrenaline verhogen, wat een onregelmatige hartslag veroorzaakt en de bloeddruk verhoogt. Deze stimulatie kan al slecht zijn voor mensen met hoge bloeddruk.
Cafeïne heeft meestal geen invloed op de prestaties bij leer- en geheugentaken. Het verbetert de reactietijd en kan bij lage doses angst verminderen. Maar bij hogere doses verhoogt het angst, nervositeit en zenuwachtigheid.
Er zijn aanwijzingen dat cafeïne cognitieve achteruitgang bij gezonde mensen kan voorkomen, maar studies variëren aanzienlijk.
Als je een koffiedrinker bent, kan de boost die je misschien voelt na een stevige kop koffie, gewoon de opluchting zijn die je voelt als je je lichaam bevrijdt van het stoppen van cafeïne. Daarom zoeken velen van ons eerst naar cafeïne: we hebben het nodig om ons weer op onze normale snelheid te brengen.
VERDICT: Hoewel cafeïne je ervan kan weerhouden in slaap te vallen, werken je hersenen er niet beter aan en kun je er snel afhankelijk van worden. Drink niet meer dan een paar koppen cafeïnevrije koffie in een uur. Vermijd het na 2 uur te drinken als je denkt dat het je wakker kan houden. Chris drinkt niet meer na 16.00 uur.
Kauwgom versus klassieke muziek
Verschillende onderzoeken hebben aangetoond dat kauwgom de aandacht, het geheugen en de cognitieve functie kan verbeteren
Kan kauwgom of het luisteren naar klassieke muziek de concentratie bevorderen?
We hebben dit op de proef gesteld, met X en kauwgom en Chris die naar muziek luisterde, om te zien of ze konden helpen zoals we reken- en reactietests deden terwijl we rondgegooid werden in botsauto's en op een kermisrit.
Verschillende studies hebben gesuggereerd dat kauwgom de aandacht, het geheugen en de cognitieve functie kan verbeteren, omdat de kauwactie de activiteit verhoogt in hersengebieden die verantwoordelijk zijn voor taal, geheugen en bewustzijn.
Onderzoek suggereert ook dat klassieke muziek kan helpen focussen – een paper in het tijdschrift Nature toonde een significante toename in IQ bij het luisteren naar Mozart.
De studies voor beide hebben gemengde resultaten opgeleverd, dus we waren niet optimistisch. Maar de resultaten waren verbluffend, omdat we onze testscores verdubbelden.
Of een van beide technieken u zal helpen bij het herzien van een examen of sollicitatiegesprek is een andere kwestie. Veel hangt waarschijnlijk af van de achtergrondafleiding: op een kermis werkt klassieke muziek goed – maar waarschijnlijk niet zo goed als naar huis gaan …
Voldoet aan Louise Atkinson