Could the secret to long life be as simple as eating a healthy diet and getting eight hours of sleep every night? Yes, says Misao Okawa of Japan who recently celebrated her 116th birthday. Born in 1898, the world’s oldest person shared her tips for a long life with The Telegraph : “Eat and sleep and you will live a long time.”
Misao’s advice may seem simplistic, but she comes from a country with more than 50,000 centenarians and several hundred super-centenarians who have reached their 110th birthday. With that kind of track record, the Japanese must be doing something right.
The extraordinary longevity of Japanese citizens has sparked numerous studies. Japan’s comprehensive healthcare system certainly plays a role; but researchers believe that certain personality traits, lifestyle choices and cultural factors shared by Japan’s oldest citizens are of greater importance in determining longevity
Increase longevity by embracing and being…
• A self-confident and outgoing personality
• Have a sense of curiosity and lifelong interest in learning
• Foster good mental health and adaptability
• Eat a healthy diet rich in fish, rice, vegetables and fruit
• Embrace physical activity throughout your life
• Keep and nurture close family ties
• Look for local community support for the elderly
Coping with Sleep Debt
Those eight hours of sleep a night that Misao considers so important certainly contribute to the good mental and physical health that has allowed her to successfully adapt to more than a century of change. In fact, researchers are finding that, when it comes to recharging and repairing the body and mind, there is no substitute for getting the seven to nine hours of nightly sleep most adults need.
We multi-tasking Americans are used to thinking that if we miss a few hours of sleep tonight, we can make up for it on the weekend. But when Penn State University researchers tested what is popularly called the sleep debt theory, they discovered a glitch. While catch-up sleep did restore daytime sleepiness and physical inflammation to normal levels, the ability to concentrate and pay attention remained sub-par. What that means is that even after weekend make-up sleep, your attention will still be fuzzy Monday morning when you hit the freeway to go to work.
Inattention on the road or at work won’t help you life a long and happy life, but you can learn to master your sleep and keep your sleep debt paid in full. Click here to find out how to Master Your Sleep.