Saturday, September 08, 2007

Getting up early is not healthy?

I've learned what enough sleep is -- around 7 hours a day. And also that sleeping less seems to be better than sleeping more.

I also learned that taking a midday nap helps live longer - based on a study that concludes that drop in deaths ties to a little nap after lunch, specially lowering the incidence of heart attack and other life-ending heart ailments. Well, at least it's true in Greece.

But what is the best time to get up?

"Rising early to go to work or exercise might not be beneficial to health, but rather a risk for vascular diseases," said an abstract of a recent study. It also noted, however, that early risers were usually older.

So get up early put more risk of vascular disease, and at the same time makes us live longer, statistically? Agh...

The question is, what is early and what is late. Is 8 AM early or late? What about 9 PM, or 7 PM, or 6 PM? What about getting up early but not for work or exercise?

Let's say 7 PM is not early, and 7 hours is the best quantity of sleep. Does it mean 12 AM is the best way to go to bed?

If getting up early is not good, is waking up late (or later) more healthier? I don't think so. But if this is true, sleeping at 4 AM and wake up at 11 AM is better than sleeping at 11 PM and wake up at 6 AM. Unlikely...

Unfortunately, the world today doesn't really allow us, well - most of us, to get up not early. To get to work by 9 AM most likely means to wake up by or, very likely, before 7 AM; unless we work night shift or extremely flexible hours. More alarming is students or school hours.

Anyway, we probably should expect the next study to figure out whether getting up later is better for health.

But remember, to stay healthy we need to wake up not early, sleep for around seven hours (or less rather than more), and take a midday nap. Thinking about capable of doing so will make us a bit healthier already...