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Tips for Optimising Sleep, Health and Longevity. What does the Science Say?

Updated: Apr 16

sleep tips Singapore health

Sleep is absolutely essential to health, arguably as necessary for survival as water. Try not sleeping for a few days, go about daily life, and see how you fare! Sleep deprivation kills. Singapore has a problem with sleep, with many residents failing to get sufficient, quality sleep.

How is your sleep? Do you wake up feeling fully refreshed?

Fortunately there has been some great research in the last few years showing us where we have gone wrong and, importantly, what we can do to sleep better. Below we share some key tips, based on the latest research.

 

If poor sleep, or lack of it, is a weary tale (pun intended) - do not stop reading. If you are not getting quality sleep, health risks rise both in the short and long term, with potentially serious effects: from the chance of having an accident to mental health and long-term chronic illness. 


Before we proceed any further, please talk to your doctor or medical practitioner most familiar with your medical history before implementing any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle, especially if you are under treatment. If you would like to learn more about the science behind sleep, please scroll down to end of page for a complete list of relevant studies.

 
What are key habits to support good sleep, to keep us healthy?

Here we go…

 

  1. Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Not more, not less.

  2. Regular sleep patterns and bedtime timings are as important for health as getting enough sleep. Go to bed regularly at the same time.

  3. Poor sleep can be offset by exercise. But get enough sleep.

  4. Aerobic (cardio) exercise and strength training supports healthy sleep. If you do aerobic exercise in the evening, give yourself 3 hours before going to sleep.

  5. Sleep affects eating practices and diet. Poor sleep leads to poor dietary choices, snacking etc.

  6. Caffeine in coffee and, to a lesser extent tea, can have a lasting stimulatory affect. Avoid caffeine after midday or early afternoon.

  7. Alcohol might help you get to sleep but it can dramatically reduce the quality of sleep. Note: much of a hangover is due to poor sleep.

  8. Eating timing affects sleep. Try to leave at least 4 hours between eating and going to sleep.

  9. A healthy gut microbiome support healthy sleep. Eat more probiotic plant foods and fibre to develop a healthy microbiome.

  10. Don’t use the small screen for the last hour before going to sleep. Have a cool, dark and quiet bedroom.

  11. Sleep banking, getting more sleep in advance of a period of little sleep, does support better function during times of little sleep. But trying to make up for lost sleep does not really work.

  12. Want to use melatonin supplements? There are risks. In an unregulated environment, many melatonin supplements do not contain the stated ingredients, some contain no melatonin at all.

 

Sleep and Longevity


A 2023 US study rated people's sleep on the following 5 factors:


  1. Ideal sleep duration of 7 to 8 hours per night

  2. Difficulty falling asleep no more than 2 times per week

  3. Trouble staying asleep no more than 2 times per week

  4. Not using any sleep medication

  5. Feeling well rested after waking up, at least 5 days per week


Those who succeeded at all 5 elements had a life expectancy of 4.7 years greater for men and 2.4 years greater for women, compared to those who had none or only 1 of the 5 favourable elements of low-risk sleep.


In a 2020 Singapore study, 71.3% of the working adults in the research cohort had at least either poor sleep quality or short duration sleep. Little Red Dot, we have a problem.

 

So this is the what to do but not the how to do it. In this respect everyone is unique, our lifestyles, preferences, experiences and daily habits. This requires a personalised plan and where coaching plays its role in supporting health.


One important point that the research demonstrates is that sleep is intertwined with multiple aspects of health and lifestyle. So addressing and improving one area of health can also support change - improvement - in other areas. (the converse is also true) Understanding where to start is useful, learn more about the pillars of health and see what resonates.

 

Stay Healthy

 

Alastair

 
sleep Singapore

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Your health, physical – mental – social - is complex and affected by multiple factors within and outside of your control. Our consults and programmes address the whole person, the root causes of ill health and maximising your health, performance & vitality.


Take the first step and arrange an introductory call. Contact us, by phone or WhatsApp, to discuss how we can support your journey to health. We are based in Singapore and work with clients globally.


Book a Whole Health Consult to assess, identify and prioritise key factors (known and unknown) that affect your health. And receive personalised recommendations on how to address them.


Want to put recommendations into action? Learn more about our programmes for individuals or teams.

 

Related Studies


Windred DP, Burns AC, Lane JM, Saxena R, Rutter MK, Cain SW, Phillips AJK. Sleep regularity is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than sleep duration: A prospective cohort study. Sleep. 2024 Jan 11;47(1):zsad253. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsad253. PMID: 37738616; PMCID: PMC10782501.


Cohen PA, Avula B, Wang YH, Katragunta K, Khan I. Quantity of Melatonin and CBD in Melatonin Gummies Sold in the US. JAMA. 2023 Apr 25;329(16):1401-1402. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.2296. PMID: 37097362; PMCID: PMC10130950.


Li H, Qian F, Han L, Feng W, Zheng D, Guo X, Zhang H. Association of Healthy Sleep Patterns with Risk of Mortality and Life Expectancy at Age 30 Years: A Population-Based Cohort Study. QJM. 2023 Oct 13:hcad237. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcad237. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37831896.

 

Liang YY, Feng H, Chen Y, Jin X, Xue H, Zhou M, Ma H, Ai S, Wing YK, Geng Q, Zhang J. Joint association of physical activity and sleep duration with risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a population-based cohort study using accelerometry. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2023 Jul 12;30(9):832-843. doi: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwad060. PMID: 36990109.


Yue M, Jin C, Jiang X, Xue X, Wu N, Li Z, Zhang L. Causal Effects of Gut Microbiota on Sleep-Related Phenotypes: A Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Study. Clocks Sleep. 2023 Sep 12;5(3):566-580. doi: 10.3390/clockssleep5030037. PMID: 37754355; PMCID: PMC10527580.


Nôga DA, Meth EMES, Pacheco AP, Tan X, Cedernaes J, van Egmond LT, Xue P, Benedict C. Habitual Short Sleep Duration, Diet, and Development of Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Mar 4;7(3):e241147. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.1147. PMID: 38441893; PMCID: PMC10915681.


Alnawwar MA, Alraddadi MI, Algethmi RA, Salem GA, Salem MA, Alharbi AA. The Effect of Physical Activity on Sleep Quality and Sleep Disorder: A Systematic Review. Cureus. 2023 Aug 16;15(8):e43595. doi: 10.7759/cureus.43595. PMID: 37719583; PMCID: PMC10503965.


Helaakoski V, Kaprio J, Hublin C, Ollila HM, Latvala A. Alcohol use and poor sleep quality: a longitudinal twin study across 36 years. Sleep Adv. 2022 Jul 6;3(1):zpac023. doi: 10.1093/sleepadvances/zpac023. PMID: 37193395; PMCID: PMC10104364.

 

Iao SI, Jansen E, Shedden K, O'Brien LM, Chervin RD, Knutson KL, Dunietz GL. Associations between bedtime eating or drinking, sleep duration and wake after sleep onset: findings from the American time use survey. Br J Nutr. 2021 Sep 13;127(12):1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114521003597. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34511160; PMCID: PMC9092657.

 

Scott AJ, Webb TL, Martyn-St James M, Rowse G, Weich S. Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Dec;60:101556. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2021.101556. Epub 2021 Sep 23. PMID: 34607184; PMCID: PMC8651630.

 

 

Ramar K, Malhotra RK, Carden KA, Martin JL, Abbasi-Feinberg F, Aurora RN, Kapur VK, Olson EJ, Rosen CL, Rowley JA, Shelgikar AV, Trotti LM. Sleep is essential to health: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. J Clin Sleep Med. 2021 Oct 1;17(10):2115-2119. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9476. PMID: 34170250; PMCID: PMC8494094.

 

Lowrie J, Brownlow H. The impact of sleep deprivation and alcohol on driving: a comparative study. BMC Public Health. 2020 Jun 22;20(1):980. doi: 10.1186/s12889-020-09095-5. PMID: 32571274; PMCID: PMC7310070

 

Theorell-Haglöw J, Lemming EW, Michaëlsson K, Elmståhl S, Lind L, Lindberg E. Sleep duration is associated with healthy diet scores and meal patterns: results from the population-based EpiHealth study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2020 Jan 15;16(1):9-18. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.8112. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31957658; PMCID: PMC7052994.

 

O'Callaghan F, Muurlink O, Reid N. Effects of caffeine on sleep quality and daytime functioning. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2018 Dec 7;11:263-271. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S156404. PMID: 30573997; PMCID: PMC6292246.


Dolezal BA, Neufeld EV, Boland DM, Martin JL, Cooper CB. Interrelationship between Sleep and Exercise: A Systematic Review. Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:1364387. doi: 10.1155/2017/1364387. Epub 2017 Mar 26. Erratum in: Adv Prev Med. 2017;2017:5979510. PMID: 28458924; PMCID: PMC5385214.


Rupp TL, Wesensten NJ, Bliese PD, Balkin TJ. Banking sleep: realization of benefits during subsequent sleep restriction and recovery. Sleep. 2009 Mar;32(3):311-21. doi: 10.1093/sleep/32.3.311. PMID: 19294951; PMCID: PMC2647785.

 

Singapore Studies

 

Visvalingam N, Sathish T, Soljak M, Chua AP, Dunleavy G, Divakar U, Nazeha N, Bajpai R, Soh CK, Woon KK, Christopoulos G, Car J. Prevalence of and factors associated with poor sleep quality and short sleep in a working population in Singapore. Sleep Health. 2020 Jun;6(3):277-287. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2019.10.008. Epub 2019 Dec 11. PMID: 31836498.


Lee YY, Lau JH, Vaingankar JA, Sambasivam R, Shafie S, Chua BY, Chow WL, Abdin E, Subramaniam M. Sleep quality of Singapore residents: findings from the 2016 Singapore mental health study. Sleep Med X. 2022 Jan 28;4:100043. doi: 10.1016/j.sleepx.2022.100043. PMID: 35243325; PMCID: PMC8861160.

 


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