Getting a good night’s sleep boosts quality of life: study
"Individuals who experienced more quality sleep also reported better quality of life."
By Mark Waghorn via SWNS
Getting a good night's sleep boosts quality of life - from childhood to old age, according to new research.
A study of eight to 12-year-olds found even 39 minutes less shut-eye a night for just a week significantly reduced well-being.
Another that focused on adults showed better sleep improved health regardless of its timing or length - whether you are 18 or 96!
The findings add to the evidence quantity is not enough in itself to achieve the benefits.
Professor Rachael Taylor, of the University of Otago, and colleagues investigated how mild sleep deprivation influenced eating behaviors, activity patterns and relationships with friends in 100 children from around Dunedin in New Zealand.
They were asked to go to bed an hour earlier than usual for a week and an hour later - separated by a seven-day period during which they returned to their normal routine.
Taylor said: "Results demonstrated even relatively small reductions in nightly sleep duration can have a considerable effect on health-related quality of life in children.
"These children received 39 minutes less sleep per night between conditions over only one week. This loss of sleep resulted in significant reductions in the children's physical and overall wellbeing and ability to cope in a school environment."
There were also additional problems associated with less social and peer support.
Taylor said: "While these differences may generally be considered as small but not trivial, they were observed after only one week of less sleep.
"As such, we believe these findings are clinically and statistically significant and require confirmation over the longer term."
The analysis in JAMA Network Open is the first of its kind. Little was known regarding the effect of poor sleep on quality of life in healthy children.
Taylor said: "Findings indicate ensuring children receive sufficient good quality sleep is an important child health issue."
A similar phenomenon was identified using data from around 4,250 adults aged 18 to 96 who took part in the annual Czech Household Panel Survey between 2018 and 2020.
Individuals with poor sleep quality were also more likely to report worse life satisfaction, well-being, happiness and subjective health. It influenced all five measurable factors apart from work stress.
Computer algorithms showed the link was much more significant than sleep duration or "social jetlag" - such as starting a new job with different hours.
Lead author Dr. Michaela Kudrnacova, of Charles University, Prague, said: "Although sleep duration and timing are important, analyses reveal sleep quality is the strongest predictor of all variables in explaining differences in quality of life indicators."
Results of the study in PLOS ONE will apply to the UK. The Czech Republic is comparable to other European countries in standard of living. It is also commensurable in life expectancy, economic activity and self-perceived health.
Kudrnacova said: "The average sleep duration is seven-and-a-half hours which is similar to other countries such as Belgium, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom."
Her team analyzed results within the same person's responses across the years of the survey, and also compared them between respondents. It is also the first time the longitudinal effect of social jetlag on quality of life has been tested.
Kudrnacova said: "The present study delivers a comprehensive analysis built on previous studies to extend knowledge on the role of sleep in life.
"In measuring three distinct facets of sleep in a single longitudinal model, sleep quality was found to be the most influential factor affecting the five aspects of quality of life - wellbeing, life satisfaction, subjective health, work stress and happiness.
"Individuals who experienced more quality sleep also reported better quality of life. Improvement of sleep quality over time is also related to improvements in quality of life."
It includes an ideal duration of seven to eight hours, falling asleep easily, infrequent interruptions, not using sleep medications and feeling well rested on waking up.
Kudrnacovam said: "Sleep duration and social jetlag are also somewhat related to quality of life, but in contrast to sleep quality, these factors do not appear significant.
"The study suggests, with the exception of extremes, that sleep duration alongside the differences in sleep habits on workdays and free days is not as important to quality of life as what is considered a good night's sleep.
"Sleep is vital to our functioning. Changes in lifestyle and psychological challenges which have either emerged or been amplified under the currently ongoing pandemic have undoubtedly affected sleeping habits.
"That topic, preferably in a study involving multiple points over time for a long-term comparison and sleep at non-standard times such as Covid-19 pandemic, will be the focus of future research."
Adults need to sleep for seven to nine hours a night, but some cope on six. For people over the age of 65, the recommended amount is between seven and eight.
Six to 12-year-olds should get nine to twelve and teenagers eight to ten.
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