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article imageMiddle aged told to ‘get more sleep’

By Tim Sandle     Aug 16, 2015 in Health
London - New government advice has been issued in the U.K., calling on the middle aged to sleep more and to make other changes to their lifestyle in order to become healthier.
Putting aside questions of "What is middle age?" Public Health England encourages people aged between 40 and 60 to spend more time sleeping. This forms part of a new initiative boost the health of the U.K. population. The U.K. National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours' sleep per day, although the average Briton, irrespective of their age, gets just six hours and 35 minutes.
The move relating to middle-aged people is based on findings that around one-third of this demographic spend six hours or less sleeping. A lack of sleep is associated with a range of health problems, including premature death; risk of diabetes and a risk of heart disease. The reason for this is thought to be changes that occur with a number of genes. This falls within the scope of epigenetics, which considers the function of the environment upon genes and gene expression.
Other recommended measures for the greying population are to exercise more, to drink less and to stop smoking. The full guidance is due to be published next month. However, the key aspects have been summarized by The Guardian. Quoting the health agency, the paper wrtes: “Only around 20 to 30 percent of what we think of as ‘ageing’ is biological; the rest is "decay" or "deterioration," which can be actively managed or prevented.”
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Adrian Williams, who is professor of sleep medicine based at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust stated: “People don't sleep enough in general and the amount of sleep we are getting has reduced over the years."
Independent research suggests people who rise too early or get by on too little sleep are damaging their health as much as smokers, and sleep deprivation can lead to them functioning as poorly as drunks. This is based on an interview that the Telegraph conducted earlier with Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist from the University of Oxford.
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