TUESDAY, May 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Are you over 40 and wondering what the magic amount of sleep each night could be? A new study comes up with an answer.
It turns out that seven hours of sleep a night may be just the right amount to keep your brain healthy if you’re middle-aged or older.
“A good night’s sleep is important at all stages of life, but especially as we age. Finding ways to improve sleep in older adults could be crucial in helping them maintain good mental health and well-being. to be and to avoid cognitive decline, especially for patients with psychiatric disorders and dementias,” said study author Barbara Sahakian, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, England.
For the study, investigators analyzed data on the sleep habits, mental health and well-being of nearly 500,000 British adults, aged 38 to 73, who completed a series of reflection tests. Brain imaging and genetic data were available for nearly 40,000 of the participants.
Seven hours of sleep per night was optimal for cognitive performance (“thoughts”) and mental health, according to the study published April 28 in the journal natural aging.
Participants who slept too little or too much performed worse on tests that measure processing speed, visual attention, memory and problem-solving skills. They were also more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression, and poorer general mental well-being.
The study also found a link between the amount of sleep and differences in the structure of brain regions involved in cognitive processing and memory, with greater changes associated with less or more than seven hours of sleep per night.
The results suggest that too little or too much sleep may be a risk factor for mental decline as people age.
Previous studies have reported a link between the amount of sleep and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“While we can’t say conclusively that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our analysis of individuals over a longer period of time seems to support this idea,” said the study’s author, Jianfeng Feng, professor at Fudan University in China. said in a Cambridge press release. “But the reasons why older people sleep less appear to be complex, influenced by a combination of our genetic make-up and brain structure.”
The Sleep Foundation offers tips for healthy sleep.
SOURCE: University of Cambridge, new version, 28 April 2022