Dan Büttner is a writer and researcher studying the longevity hotspots of Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. Over the years, he has amassed a wealth of knowledge about the health and wellbeing of the world’s longest living people, including the positive effects of some nocturnal habits in promoting longevity
5 nightly habits for a long life inspired by the Blue Zones
1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Sleep training isn’t just for babies. Adults can also benefit from a consistent sleep schedule. If you want to extend your lifespan, make (and stick to) a regular sleep schedule. Set a bedtime reminder every night to practice falling asleep at a regular time. And if you’re having trouble falling asleep, try a “relaxation routine” like meditation or yoga, which experts say can help with relaxation.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
In addition to a regular sleep schedule, you need to get enough sleep, ideally 8-10 hours a night, “the optimal amount to revitalize our brains and bodies,” according to Blue Zones.
Although we may need less sleep as we age, the pursuit of a full night’s sleep when you are younger promotes longevity, better brain function, stronger immunity, and increased energy levels.
3. Include time to “downshift”
This relaxation routine? This is something that centenarians in Blue Zones incorporate into their daily lives to deal with stress. These “downward layers”, as Büttner calls them, vary from blue zone to blue zone: The Ikarian people take a nap, while the Sardinians go to happy hour and the Okinawans take a moment to honor their ancestors.
Although these are not necessarily done at night, stress can affect the amount and quality of sleep we get. Make a note of the residents of the Blue Zones and do a daily “down shift” to get a better night’s sleep. Whether you’re going for a walk, reading a book, or sipping a relaxing cup of tea, take the time to calm down and relax so that you don’t carry the stress of the day to bed with you.
How to become a morning person:
4. Wait until late at night to snack
Most residents of the Blue Zones do without a midnight snack. “People in Blue Zones don’t overeat, which can help them maintain a healthy weight,” the Blue Zone website states. “As a rule, they also eat small dinners early in the evening and avoid snacks at night.” Most of them also have their smallest meals in the evening. “Nicoyans often eat two breakfasts with a light dinner; Icarians and Sardinians make lunch the big meal of the day. “
In Okinawa, for example, they recite a sentence before each meal: hara hachi bu. “It reminds you to eat 80 percent full instead of stuffing yourself to the point,” says Blue Zones. “Their smaller portion sizes remind us to be mindful while eating and to take care of our bodies.”
5. Enjoy a glass of wine after 5pm
According to Büttner’s research, four of the five official Blue Zone communities drink alcohol in moderation, especially wine. “There’s a lot of evidence in Blue Zones that having a few glasses a day, especially with friends and with dinner, is likely to lower your mortality,” said Büttner at a Global Wellness Summit.
“Sardinians are famous for their daily consumption of the robust, regional red wine Cannonau,” Büttner told Well + Good beforehand. If you are looking for the healthiest red wine you have come to the right place.
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