A Huge Study Identifies The 'Optimal' Amount of Sleep From Middle Age Onwards

A Huge Study Identifies The 'Optimal' Amount of Sleep From Middle Age Onwards ...

Sleep a lot like eating food is one of the most important tasks we must maintain, but there are a few methods to do it wrong.

A new study has weighed into the debate. Researchers claim that seven hours of sleep per night is the ideal amount for good mental health, wellbeing, and cognitive performance for people in their late 30s to early 70s.

"We found a nonlinear connection between sleep, with approximately sevenhours as the optimal sleep duration, and genetic and cognitive factors, brain structure, and mental health as important measures," the researchers wrote in their new paper.

"Longitudinal studies indicated that both inadequate and excessive sleep duration were significantly linked to a decline in cognition as a result of the follow-up."

As part of the UK Biobank study, neuroscientist Yuzhu Li from Fudan University in China and psychiatry researcher Barbara Sahakian examined data from 498,277 participants aged 38 to 73 years.

Around 48,500 individuals received neuroimaging, and around 157,000 participants completed an online questionnaire. All these data sources were combined to provide a pretty complete picture of how the amount of sleep they receive is related to other aspects of their mental and brain health.

Researchers measured a U-shape in similar experiments, lowering all measures of cognitive function and mental health that the researchers examined. In some instances, too much sleep increased to 12-13 hours a day.

The researchers were able to investigate whether there were brain structural or genetic mechanisms behind the U-shape curve. According to the researchers, genetics and brain structure play a role, but further research will be necessary to follow up on these findings.

"While we can''t say conclusively that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our research on individuals over a long period of time appears to support this notion," says one of the researchers, Jianfeng Feng from Fudan University.

"But the reasons why older people have poorer sleep appear to be problematic, influenced by a combination of our genetic makeup and our brain structure."

So, with all of that in mind, we need to note a few caveats. This research is quite extensive, but it is still a visual analysis, which demonstrates certain connections.

We cannot guarantee whether sleeping less or more than seven hours actually causes problems in mental health, wellbeing, or cognition performance, or whether these problems are to blame for people''s sleep patterns.

Second, this study is not saying that sleeping six or eight hours would lead to significant changes to your individual wellbeing. There are many reasons why people can''t sleep seven hours every night, whether it''s stress, work, or just having to jump up in the middle of the night to enjoy it.

The changes on the far ends of the scale, such as one hour or 13 hours of sleep a night, are quite remarkable. Seven is just the correct number in the middle of the curve.

Nature Aging, 2022 (Li et al., Nature Aging)

Above:Graphs showing a significant nonlinear connection between sleep duration and cognitive function and mental health.

Plus important, you should not wake up an hour earlier and expect health benefits unless you receive eight hours of sleep a night.

This research is useful in demonstrating that having seven hours of sleep a night as we enter middle and older age is a good idea. However, we shouldn''t be able to challenge ourselves ourselves if we cannot''t get that amount as individuals.

"A good night''s sleep is vital at all stages of life, but especially as we age," says Sahakian.

"Evening strategies to improve sleep for older people might be critical to their health and wellbeing as well as avoiding cognitive decline, particularly for patients with psychiatric issues and dementia."

If you are struggling to get enough sleep, then naps are all good help.

Nature Aging is a business that has been conducted.

You may also like: