Two very interesting studies came out in the last week that suggest our behaviors through mid life can have significant impacts on our older years. Namely, drinking excessive alcohol can lead to a far higher stroke risk and sleeping well is correlated with better mental health, cardiovascular health and fewer, less severe disorders and diseases.
Sleep and Health
Getting a good nights rest is akin to an "investment" in your mental functioning in later life, a study has shown. We have long known that sleep boosts memory and learning in younger adults but Michael Scullin, director of the Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory at Baylor University, analyzed 50 years of sleep research and made the important link between our actions between the ages of 30 and 60 with our outcomes beyond those years.
And if you need any more convincing on the benefits of sleep, then I recommend watching this short TED Talk!
Alcohol and Health
Consuming too much alcohol in mid life can increase the likelihood of stroke more than high blood pressure or even diabetes according to new research (although by the age of 75 these became better predictors). In fact, people who have more than two drinks a day on average are 34% more likely to have a stroke in their later years than those who average less than half a drink per day. Strokes also happened earlier with these heavier drinkers than were found in lighter or non- drinkers, according to Pavla Kadlecova, a statistician at St. Anne's University Hospital International Clinical Research Center. The time to stroke was shortened by around five years. These findings are consistent with national guidelines that recommend a maximum of two drinks a day for men and one for women.