5 nighttime habits of the world’s longest-living people
Just like they start their mornings, people of the world Blue areas—Geographical locations around the world where people regularly live to age 100 without severe mental or physical disabilities — end their days in inspiring ways that promote longevity. Whether it’s getting a good night’s sleep or sipping a glass of red wine, the people of these regions know very well how to unwind at the end of a day.
Dan Buettner is an author and researcher who studies longevity hot spots in Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. Over the years, he has gathered a great deal of information about the health and well-being of the longest-living people in the world, including the positive impact of a few nighttime habits to promote longevity.
5 nighttime habits for longevity, inspired by the Blue Zones
1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Sleep training isn’t just for babies. Adults can benefit a consistent sleep schedule, too. If you want to extend your lifespan, adopt (and stick to) a regular sleep schedule. Set a bedtime reminder every night to train yourself to fall asleep at a regular time. And if you’re having trouble falling asleep, try incorporating a “relaxation routine,” like meditation or yoga, which experts say can help you relax.
2. Get a full night’s sleep
In addition to a regular sleep schedule, you should get enough sleep, ideally 8-10 hours a night, “the optimal amount to revitalize our brain and body,” according to Blue areas.
3. Incorporate time to “downgrade”
This relaxation routine? It is something that centenarians of the blue zones incorporate into their daily routine to manage their stress. These “down shifts,“as Buettner calls them, vary from a blue zone to a blue zone: the Ikarians take midday naps, while the Sardinians go to Happy Hour, and Okinawans take a moment to honor their ancestors.
While these are not necessarily always performed at night, stress can have an impact on the amount and quality of sleep we get. Take note of the residents of the blue zones and do a daily down shift to get a better night’s sleep. Whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, or have a relaxing cup of tea, take the time to settle down and relax, so as not to carry the stress of the day to bed.
How to become a morning person:
4. Stop snacking late at night
Most residents of the Blue Zones skip a midnight snack. “The people of the blue zones do not eat too much, which can help them maintain a healthy weight,” the report reads. Blue Zone website. “They also usually eat small dinners early at night and refrain from late night snacking.” Most also have their smaller meals in the evening. “Nicoyans often have two breakfasts with a light dinner; the Ikarians and the Sardinians make lunch the big meal of the day.
In Okinawa, for example, they recite a sentence before each meal: hara hachi drunk. “It reminds them to eat 80% rather than binge to the point of bursting,” says Blue Zones. “Their smaller portions remind us to be mindful when we eat and to take care of our bodies.”
5. Enjoy a glass of wine after 5 p.m.
According to Buettner’s research, four of the five official Blue Zone communities drink alcohol in moderation, especially wine. “There is a lot of evidence in the blue zones that a few drinks a day, especially with friends and with a meal … probably reduces your mortality,” Buettner said at a World Summit on Wellbeing.
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