Building and maintaining healthy habits are key to realizing the full potential of a long life. A healthy lifestyle can improve day-to-day wellness, delay the onset of chronic disease, and ultimately add years to life expectancy. Such habits include daily activities that contribute to health: eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, minimizing sedentary time, getting sufficient sleep, and maintaining a healthy body mass. They also include avoiding risky behaviors that can contribute to disease and early mortality: using tobacco and illicit drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption.
In 2016, we released the inaugural Sightlines Report, which provided a bird’s eye view of how Americans are doing on each of these healthy behaviors over time. The findings indicated we have a lot of room for improvement: many Americans were not eating well or sleeping enough, obesity and sedentary behavior had increased (though more people were exercising regularly), and illicit drug use was on the rise. This year, we will be providing an update on the data, as well as taking a deeper look at the latest Stanford research on how each behavior affects our health and the best practices recommended for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Research Update 1
In a world full of responsibilities, stressors, inequalities, and distractions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, and sleep habits are often the first to suffer. In this Sightlines Project update, the first in a series of updates on healthy living, we discuss what Stanford researchers have to say about sleep. Why is it so important? Who is getting enough, and who is getting too little? Do the latest findings yield clues that may help us sleep better?