The value of your diet is made up of the sum of its parts. Focusing on sprinkling in a few nutrient-dense foods into an otherwise unhealthy eating pattern is unlikely to offer any benefit.
It’s really about the overall quality.
New data is suggesting the same for sleep: that improving overall sleep health could offer the most health benefits and offer greater protection from conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other cardiovascular conditions.
Multidimensional sleep health considers more than just how many hours a person sleeps every night. It also factors in sleep consistency, wakefulness, sleep disorders, and snoring contribute to health outcomes.
Researchers measured overall sleep health by looking at 4,559 adults in the 2017-18 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They calculated overall sleep scores of “poor,” “moderate,” or “ideal” based on the factors mentioned above.
Results showed that people with ideal sleep scores had a 66 percent lower risk of high blood pressure, 58 percent reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, 73 percent lower odds of obesity, and 69 percent lower odds of dangerous waistline fat.
Sleep habits are not isolated, but all interrelated. When you’ve got good overall sleep patterns and hygiene, you can likely expect better health outcomes.
So what do “ideal” sleep scores look like? Generally, they mean getting the recommended seven to nine hours each night. Perhaps even more importantly, it means sticking to a consistent sleep schedule.
Falling asleep relatively quickly after laying down, let’s say within about 20 minutes, and staying asleep is also important. Things like getting activity during the day; avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and large meals in the evening, and limiting nighttime screen exposure can all help with this.
Sleep, like your diet, is essential to health and is made up of several components. Consider all of them when you’re looking to boost health and reduce the risk of illness.