Don’t assume you need less sleep
It’s a common myth that we need fewer hours of sleep as we age, but evidence suggests this is not true. Sleep disorder experts have found that having fewer than six hours of sleep a night can adversely affect your mood. To nod off more easily, try to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time each day, and ban late-night googling, online shopping, or TV watching.
Research shows that positive emotions associated with attending religious services – such as hope, faith, forgiveness, joy, compassion and gratitude – can help to reduce stress and regulate the body chemicals that protect us against it.
In particular, US researchers have found that regular church attendance may actually add two to three years to the average lifespan. This may be due to the power of faith, or linked to the advantages of belonging to a community or having a sense of purpose.
Go for walks with your dog
Dog ownership can provide a physical and emotional boost. Walking together will improve your fitness and protect against feelings of loneliness, according to a British study of dog walkers. They reported that the regular daily exercise improved their sense of wellbeing, and that while walking their dog they often met and chatted with others, which made them feel happier.
If you’re not able to own a dog, try dog-walking with a friend or consider volunteering at a local shelter.
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