Five good sleep habits that add years to people’s lives, a new study found

If you want to live longer then you have to prioritize sleep in your life. A new study found that following five good sleep habits added nearly five years to a man’s life expectancy and almost 2.5 years to a woman’s life.

“If people have all these ideal sleep behaviors, they are more likely to live longer,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Qian, a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School and internal medicine resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

What do you do?

First, make sure you get a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night. 1 in 3 Americans has a sleep deficit, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study also shows you need to have uninterrupted, restful sleep more than two times a week. You also have to feel well-rested at least five days a week when you wake up. And finally, you can’t be using sleep medications to achieve your slumber.

As part of the four-year National Health Interview Survey, each of the five healthy sleep habits — falling asleep easily, staying asleep, getting seven to eight hours of zzz’s, waking up rested, and foregoing sleep meds — was assigned a number. People were scored on how many of the five habits they had.

About four years later, researchers compared those scores with National Death Index records to see if their sleep behaviors contributed to an early death from certain diseases or any cause. The team then factored out other potential causes for higher risk of dying, such as alcohol consumption, lower socioeconomic status and existing medical conditions.

Men who followed all five of the healthy sleep habits had a life expectancy that was 4.7 years greater than people who had none or only one of the five elements of low-risk sleep, the study found.

The impact of healthy sleep habits was much lower for women: Those who followed all five sleep habits gained 2.4 years compared with those who did none or only one.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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