There are several positive lifestyle factors that can promote good health if you want to live a long and healthy life. Certainly, you cant change much of your environment around you or change your genes, but making educated and intentional choices when it comes to diet, activity, sleep, can reduce your health risks and potentially increase life span.

These lifestyle modifications are the ones that have the best evidence for maximizing your longevity.

Getting a regular and adequate amount of sleep is first on our list as it is often downplayed in importance relative to diet and exercise.

The relationship between sleep and life expectancy has been demonstrated in many studies, but what surprises some people is that the relationship is a U-shaped curve. In other words, both too little and too much sleep raise mortality.

Regardless of sex or age, a good night’s sleep is important. Sleep gives your body a chance to restore and regenerate. Not only does it recharge the proverbial “batteries” but it also attends to all of the metabolic functions required by the body, such as regenerating old cells, getting rid of wastes and repairing cell damage.

For those who give up on needed sleep to study, keep in mind that sleep is important in making memories, and sleep deprivation leads to forgetfulness.

Even if it’s your intent to sleep well, medical conditions can sometimes get in the way. Sleep apnea is a condition that can greatly increase health risks. Part of the reason is that symptoms such as snoring and waking up gasping for air are not always present, and sleep apnea can present with a number of surprising signs and symptoms.

If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor about a sleep study as treatments medical interventions can reduce your risk and improve your life.

Changes in your sleep patterns can also be a sign of a change in your health, so see your doctor for a checkup if anything changes.