Extend Your Life
"Stop drinking coffee and alcohol." "Take an aspirin daily." How many times have you heard that advice for adding years to your life? Turns out, lots of long-held wisdom just isn't true. Read on to see which suggestions you should ignore and what actually ups longevity. Photo by Getty Images.
1. Lay off the java.
You've probably read that multiple cups of coffee a day can be bad for you (jitter city), but research published in the New England Journal of Medicine may prove the opposite. Male and female participants who had two or three cups a day and didn't smoke were 10% and 13% less likely, respectively, to have died during the 14-year-long study than those who never or rarely drank coffee. Men and women who drank a single daily cup were 6% and 5% less likely, respectively, to pass away. According to the researchers, more cups mean a lower risk of stroke, diabetes and heart and respiratory disease. But watch the cream and sugar-extra fat and calories could negate any longevity benefits.
2. Get eight hours of sleep every night.
While research suggests snoozing fewer than six or more than nine hours a night raises your mortality risk, "everyone has different sleep needs," says Shelby Harris, PsyD, director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. So if you wake naturally after only, say, six-and-a-half hours a night, forcing yourself to reach eight hours won't lengthen your life. To learn how much sleep you need, try awakening without an alarm for a week, if you can swing it. If you feel good and have enough energy most of the day, you've found your ideal amount of rest.
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Photo courtesy of Flickr.com; Username: Angelo Gonzalez