Everyone has their own go-to evening habits and sleep regimen. However, some are more effective than others. Research shows that one out of every three adults in the U.S. don't get sufficient sleep, which should be seven or more hours each night, according to the Sleep Foundation. If you fall into that 33%, it's time to take some serious action and read up on the best nighttime habits from the world's longest-living people who reside in the Blue Zones. After all, sleep deprivation can put you at risk of many chronic health issues, including diabetes, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and depression.
Read on to learn how you can kick up your nighttime routine pronto, inspired by the longest-living individuals in the world. And after you wake up from a solid night's Z's, be sure to check out A 69-Year-Old Fitness Trainer Shares the 6 Exercises That Keep Her Looking Half Her Age.
Get enough restful sleep.
If you're curious about the best nighttime habits from the world's longest-living people, the ideal place to start is establishing how much sleep you should get on a nightly basis. People who live in the Blue Zones—aka Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece—stick to a healthy bedtime and wake-time schedule. According to the official Blue Zones website, these individuals get a restful seven to nine hours of sleep each night, along with taking naps throughout the day, which is something we should all strive to achieve.
Enjoy dinner with loved ones.
One special habit that centenarians in the Blue Zones live and breathe is putting their loved ones first. In fact, "Loved Ones First" is a key facet of the Blue Zones Power 9, the healthy lifestyle habits followed by the longest-living individuals in the world.
So, for a well-rounded nighttime routine that'll have you going to bed happy, consider enjoying an early dinner with family. This allows you to engage in meaningful, positive conversations and spend time with the people you love most in this world. In fact, research shows that having regular family meals can be beneficial for your mental and emotional well-being, and it promotes a better diet.
Another one of the Blue Zones Power 9 principles is downshifting. Fully relaxing and ridding your body of any excess stress you're holding onto is imperative. Some ways you can integrate this habit into your nighttime routine, according to the Blue Zones, is by carving out 10 minutes to self-reflect, journal, or meditate. Research shows that meditation can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety; it can also help boost your quality of sleep and decrease insomnia.
Make sure the last meal of the day is on the light side.
Last but certainly not least, try to make your final meal of the day an early and light one. In the Blue Zones, much of the day's calorie count is eaten before 12 p.m. Nicoyans typically savor two breakfasts and a light dinner. Sardinians and Ikarians have their biggest meal for lunch, and Okinawans do without dinner altogether. In addition, many Adventists who stick to the "breakfast-like-a-king" mentality only have two meals per day, one of them being mid-morning, and the other one being around 4 p.m. So take a cue from these healthy zones and have a light dinner on the early side.