Young or old, good sleep boosts quality of life at all ages

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — A good night’s sleep significantly enhances one’s quality of life at all ages, a pair of new studies explain.

One study involving children between the ages of eight and 12 discovered that even a reduction of 39 minutes in their nightly sleep over a single week significantly lowered their well-being. Another study focusing on adults found that quality sleep improved health, irrespective of its timing or duration, whether they were 18 or 96. These findings contribute to existing evidence indicating that sleep quantity alone is insufficient to garner its benefits.

One study was conducted by Professor Rachael Taylor, head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, to understand the impact of minor sleep deprivation on eating habits, activity patterns, and social relationships in 100 children from Dunedin, New Zealand. They were asked to adjust their bedtime one hour earlier for a week and then one hour later, separated by a week of their regular sleep schedule. The children also encountered additional challenges related to reduced social support and peer relationships.

Scroll down to see 3 great ways to get better sleep

Child sleeping in bed
(© Konstantin Yuganov –

Similarly, a study involving around 4,250 adults between 18 and 96 who participated in the Czech Household Panel Survey from 2018 to 2020 found that those with poor sleep quality reported lower levels of life satisfaction, well-being, happiness, and perceived health.

“Better sleep means a better quality of life. While when we sleep and how long we sleep is important, individuals who have better quality sleep also have a better quality of life, regardless of the time and length of sleep. In addition, by following 4,253 people for three years, we found that those whose sleep improved also had an improved quality of life,” say the authors in a media release.

The results of these studies highlight the importance of ensuring good quality sleep for all age groups. Future research will focus on understanding how changes in lifestyle and psychological challenges, especially those amplified by the COVID pandemic, impact sleeping habits.

These findings are published in JAMA Network Open and the journal PLoS ONE.

3 Remedies For Insomnia:

What can you do to finally get a good night’s sleep? StudyFinds researched the best remedies for insomnia to tuck you in, according to experts:

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone present in all of our bodies that helps control sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin is also the most common prescription drug for sleep issues.

“By far the most common thing I recommend to patients is to take melatonin,” says Time‘s expert neurologist Dr. Daniel Barone. “Getting natural melatonin production back on track [for instance with a dark bedroom and no screens before bedtime] is the most sustainable scenario…but taking an over-the-counter brand might do the trick short-term.”

Recent research out of Sweden highlighted the importance of sleep during adolescence, revealing a link between melatonin use and a reduction in episodes of self-harm among young people with anxiety and depression. Scientists at the Karolinska Institute discovered the risk of self-harm increased in the months before a melatonin prescription and decreased afterward, particularly in girls.

2. Chamomile Tea

This is a gentle remedy with very few possible side effects. “One of the most popular remedies for insomnia is to drink warm milk or chamomile tea before bedtime. Both are believed to have effects on the brain that make it easier for you to fall asleep,” writes WebMD.

Tea in general can be beneficial for your health — even while you’re asleep. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan say drinking oolong tea increases the breakdown of fat and continues to work even when a person is resting. Professor Kumpei Tokuyama finds drinking two cups of oolong tea each day significantly stimulates fat burning processes in the body.

3. Moderate Exercise

“Physical activity can improve sleep, though researchers aren’t completely sure why. It’s known that moderate aerobic exercise boosts the amount of nourishing slow wave (deep) sleep you get,” writes John Hopkins Medicine.

Moreover, a new study has good news for those who are still struggling to get quality rest: exercise can counteract the negative effects of poor sleep and even help people live longer.

“The study showed that increased physical activity levels weakened the mortality risks associated with short or long sleep duration,” says study author Dr. Jihui Zhang of The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, China, in a media release.

You might also like:

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

YouTube video