7 Hours Of Sleep Works Best For Middle-Aged Minds, Scientists State


It has always been prescribed by every person to get at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. This is especially more crucial to the growing kids. However, some older folks still practice that. Interestingly enough, researchers found that middle-aged and older adults have worse cognitive functioning when they get too little or too much sleep. This was what a new study suggests.

In fact, the people involved in the study say that those who got around seven hours of sleep each night had better cognitive outcomes than compared to those who didn’t.

We all hope our minds always stay sharp even as we get older, but this may also depend on how much rest we have every single night.  According to the study that was published April 28 in Nature Aging, scientists looked into data on almost 500,000 adults, age range was from 38 to 73 years old. They were part of the UK Biobank, an ongoing government-funded research project. They were each questioned about their sleep habits, mental health, and well-being. The participants also completed a series of cognitive tests that were designed to assess brain function. They also formed a subset of around 40,000 participants who were asked to get brain scans and lab tests for the purpose of gathering genetic information.

Those who were able to sleep for around seven hours every night were able to attain better cognitive outcomes when compared to the other participants. Either longer or shorter periods of sleep per night were linked to a reduced ability to make decisions, solve issues and problems, stay in focus, break down to process information, and learn about new ideas.

Seven hours of sleep per night was also recommended for mental health. Too much or too little sleep was linked with more symptoms of depression and anxiety. This was even associated to an unhealthy overall wellbeing. “While we can’t say conclusively that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our analysis looking at individuals over a longer period of time appears to support this idea,” said the senior study author, Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University in China, when he was asked to make a statement. “The reasons why older people have poorer sleep appear to be complex, influenced by a combination of our genetic makeup and the structure of our brains,” Feng added.

Brain scans for those who got about seven hours of sleep per night had fewer structural changes in regions of the brain that were linked to cognitive processing and memory. They looked at the findings and compared these against those who got too little or too much nightly sleep.

Moreover, those who got about seven hours each night and were pretty consistent about it, meaning there wasn’t too much deviation from the usual pattern, had better cognitive functioning and mental health. They also compared them with those whose sleep patterns were pretty much varied and inconsistent and to those who got too much or not enough amounts of sleep.

As seen in the studies, sleep plays a vital role in cognitive functioning and good psychological health. The right amount of sleep also helps keep brain healthy. That’s because they body is able to remove waste products that may eventually bring about either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

As our bodies age, we may notice how we eventually come across sleep problems. Included here are difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. We may also see that the quantity and quality of sleep may lower.

Previous research has saw how middle-aged and older adults who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disturbances are more at risk for cognitive impairment. Earlier studies have also seen how those who struggle to fall asleep or get insufficient or poor quality sleep are more inclined to suffer from cognitive decline and dementia. As for those who fall asleep quickly and soundly, they more or less safe from the issues, current health problems, of course, not considered.

Essentially, the older you get, the more you need to be mindful of your sleep. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night for optimal health and wellbeing. This was according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In reality, around more than one-third of adults get less than seven hours, which increases their risk of a wide range of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and depression.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is important at all stages of life, but particularly as we age,” said a coauthor of the study, Barbara Sahakian, DSc, of the psychiatry department at the University of Cambridge. She also said, “Finding ways to improve sleep for older people could be crucial to helping them maintain good mental health and well-being and avoid cognitive decline, particularly for patients with psychiatric disorders and dementias.”