The dream of eternal life sounds tempting, but remains a utopia for now. However, there are three factors that can positively influence your lifestyle, a recent study found.
Go to bed earlier, eat less sweets or junk food, and exercise a little more – you've probably already resolved to live a little healthier. This does not seem to be so difficult, as a recent study by the University of Eastern Finland, published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, suggests.
According to the study, three aspects in particular contribute positively to a healthier lifestyle and thus to a longer life expectancy: restful sleep, a balanced diet and low alcohol consumption.
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Best of all, doctors found that those who get a particularly restful night's sleep automatically choose a healthier eating plan and are less likely to consume alcoholic beverages.
So is a healthy lifestyle a no-brainer if you sleep enough??
It's not quite as simple as that, if we take a closer look at the Finnish researchers' study. 252 overweight adults had their lifestyle monitored by medical professionals for three days. The subjects were from the Finnish cities of Helsinki, Kuopio and Jyvaskyla and all suffered from various psychological stresses.
For three consecutive nights, the sleep lab measured differences in heart rate and observed how much time the subjects spent in deep sleep. Basic body functions. Controls our breathing, for example. The component Parasympathetic on the other hand, regulates the body in recovery phases and ensures, for example, that many of our organs continue to work without the person being aware of it. If the parasympathetic nervous system is active on its own, the body is in a resting phase and recuperates.
And what does sleep have to do with diet and drinking habits now?
To find out how the study participants eat, they were asked to fill out different questionnaires. Among other things, two surveys were conducted to find out which diet they prefer, for example a more meat- or vegetable-heavy diet, and how much alcohol they usually drink. To do this, they should name all the foods and drinks they had consumed in the past 48 hours.
Combined with the results from the sleep lab, the questionnaires should shed light on whether the way study participants eat has an impact on psychological well-being. It was found that those who have a particularly restful sleep, i.e. the parasympathetic nervous system takes over the reins in the body, usually also eat healthier and drink less beer, wine and the like.
In addition, researchers suspect that restful sleep could also have a positive influence on eating behavior
Respondents with restful sleep were less likely to stress eat, had more self-control, and more often chose high-fiber foods, which are nutritionally considered a healthy source of nutrients for the body. In the long run, these patterns can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and thus lead to a longer life. People who are more rested are less susceptible to stress and may therefore not be inclined to tear open the next packet of chocolate out of frustration.
However, the study by the medical experts only provides initial indications of a possible connection between sleep, diet and drinking habits. People who suffer from mental stress disorders often have trouble falling asleep. This, in turn, can exacerbate other symptoms. This aspect was hardly taken into account in the study. Further studies will now examine these points in more detail.