Science & Technology

Improving sleep quality substantially boosts health and well-being

Getting better sleep is equivalent to winning 200,000 pounds, according to a study at the University of Warwick in England. *-The investigation, conducted by psychologists, reveals that boosting one’s sleep quality can have numerous advantages for one’s health, and the pleasure gained from sleeping is similar to feelings of winning the lottery.

The researchers examined data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, a survey that highlights data about social and economic attitudes in the United Kingdom. The data was compiled from 30,594 individuals who had given information about their health, sleep and well-being.

The information was acquired from 18 waves of yearly evaluations. Researchers focused on “Wave 1,” conducted between 2009 and 2011 and “Wave 4,” conducted between 2012 and 2014.

Since researchers were aware that variables such as the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep would fluctuate throughout this experiment, they used linear regression to adjust the results for potential confounders and baseline values of the variables.

Researchers concentrated on three critical sleep parameters: sleep medication, sleep quality and sleep quantity. Sleep quantity was measured via results from the question, “How many hours of actual sleep did you usually get at night during the last month?” and sleep quality was determined by asking, “During the past month, how would you rate your sleep quality overall?” The responses that participants could choose were “very good,” “fairly good,” “fairly bad” or “very bad.” Use of sleep medicine was calculated with the question, “During the past month, how often have you taken medicine to help you sleep?” Participants could choose “not during the past month,” “less than once a week,” “once or twice a week” or “three or more times a week.” The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index confirmed the questions and answers.

The study revealed that changes in these sleep parameters were linked to one’s health and well-being. The researchers noted high levels of consistency when analyzing the outcome of the study: a bad result was only exhibited when the amount of sleep decreased, the sleep quality decreased or the participant increased sleep medication use. A good result correlated with increased sleep, an improvement in sleep quality and a decline in sleep medication use.

Another important focus of the experiment was the dependency of people upon sleep medicine and dangers of these dependencies to one’s health. Researchers discovered that 16 percent of participants used sleep medication in the month of study and 8.8 percent of them were taking sleep aids at least three times a week.

The study concluded that participants who began to use more sleep medicine over a period of time experienced poorer reactions, even though the objective of the medications was to improve sleep.  Bad quality sleep, sleep deprivation and use of sleep medication deteriorates both the physical state and emotional health of a person. Chronic sleep medicine use could also lead to cancer or death.

Dr. Nicole Tang of the University of Warwick’s department of psychology revealed that focusing on getting better sleep at night can lead to improved mental and physical health over a period of time. She also stressed that the quality of sleep one has is more essential than the hours of sleep.

“An important next step is to look at the differences between those who demonstrate a positive and negative change in sleep over time, and identify what lifestyle factors and day-to-day activities are conducive to promoting sleep. Further research in this area can inform the design of public health initiatives,” says Tang.

This study can further assist in emphasizing why sleep is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. It can help communities, schools and places of employment to be informed on the benefits of a well-rested human body.

March 27, 2017

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