In previous articles, we discussed how sleep has a significant effect on reducing inflammation, glucose regulation, and melatonin excretion. Unfortunately, its effect tends to decrease with age. However, there is another hormone that affects longevity — melatonin.
If you want to live longer, go to bed early.
Limiting screen time a couple of hours before going to bed might help to improve your lifespan.
Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime.
Melatonin is a powerhouse antioxidant that protects cell health and helps limit the damage from free-radical cells. It is also like a superhero protecting against cancer cell growth and spread. Melatonin also delivers specific and essential protection to the brain.
Scientists also recently uncovered a new way melatonin facilitates longevity. This new research revealed melatonin’s capacity to hold mitochondrial function. What does that mean? It means that it provides the needed protection of the protein against harmful effects, meaning that it protects it from aging.
Sleep hacks for longevity
So, what are the best hacks for improving longevity without changing your life too much? We are here to help you:
Take care of your melatonin levels
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, the melatonin levels in your body are crucial for longevity. Let’s see how to improve them easily:
Try going to bed around 10 PM
It is hard to do that nowadays, especially if you want to have a social life after work. However, based on humans' circadian rhythm, your body releases melatonin between 9 and 10 PM.
Minimize blue light sources
There is a reason why everyone keeps repeating this simple statement; it simply has a significant influence. So try to reduce using your phone, tablet, laptop, etc., before going to bed. Try relaxing, listening to some soothing music, and mentally preparing for a quality sleep instead.
Consider taking melatonin pills
These supplements may help, especially if you travel a lot, or you are over 40. They will give that extra melatonin boost which helps you to get a better night’s sleep.
Get as much deep sleep as possible
Deep sleep is responsible for physical recovery, glucose regulation, tissue regeneration, and toxin clearance, which is very important for longevity.
So if you would like to optimize deep sleep, you should consider doing the following:
Go to bed early
Not to sound like a broken record, but try going to bed around 10 PM. Again, the reason is simple — our bodies get the most significant amount of deep sleep before midnight.
No one is saying that you should not drink coffee, but as I have mentioned in my other articles, caffeine stays in your system for six hours and reduces deep sleep by as much as 20 percent.
Make sure the bedroom temperature is correct
Your body temperature must drop a few degrees to fall into a deep sleep, which happens naturally through circadian rhythms. Still, synthetic bedding and a heated bedroom can sometimes interfere with this. The ideal temperature for deep sleep is 64–66°F (18–19°C).
Try fasting or time-restricted eating
Researchers analyzed hundreds of studies to identify a diet that optimizes human health and longevity. They found that diets low in animal protein and high in complex carbohydrates that include periods of fasting are most beneficial for long-term health and life span.
Time-restricted eating (8-hour food window per day) has many positive effects on both longevity and sleep quality. It is one of the various ways to improve metabolic conditions and weight control — it improves insulin resistance and also positively improves sleep apnea.
Try HIIT, sauna, and infrared lamps
These three deserve a more detailed look, so let’s cover them one by one:
The benefits of HIIT (high-intensity interval training)
Interval training (10 to 20-minute intensive sessions) may strengthen your heart and aerobic capacity. But that’s not all; there are a couple of interesting studies that have uncovered other benefits of HIIT. If you had a poor night’s sleep, the HIIT session could radically decrease the significantly adverse metabolic effects of sleep deprivation, unstable glucose levels, and insulin sensitivity.
Benefits of the sauna
Saunas increase the growth hormone, which, you might have guessed from the name, is super crucial for longevity.
And, of course, the sauna specialists — the Finnish people — have covered that in a study. They found that bathing two to three times per week is associated with a 24% reduction in all-cause mortality while using a sauna four to seven times per week is associated with a 40% reduction.
A sauna is also a great activator of your parasympathetic system. With a significant drop in pulse and blood pressure, this network of nerves relaxes the body to help you get a good night's sleep.
Some people might be skeptical about using artificial radiant lighting, but the emitted infrared radiation increases cellular health and promotes longevity by decreasing oxidative damage in the body. Why is this important? Over time, oxidative damage becomes the root that causes aging and all aging-related diseases. In addition, infrared light has a positive effect on circadian rhythms and the release of melatonin, and thus, contributes to the well-being of sleep.