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how long to sleep
Seven hours is the ideal length of sleep for people middle-aged and older, with too much or too little sleep associated with poorer cognitive performance and mental health.
Yuzhu Li and his colleagues from the universities of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and Fudan (China) therefore wanted to know the sleep needs of the elderly.
As we age, we often notice changes in our sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, as well as a decrease in the quantity and quality of sleep. These sleep disorders are thought to contribute to cognitive decline and psychiatric disorders in the elderly.
I sleep in good measure
The researchers looked at data from nearly 500,000 adults between the ages of 38 and 73. Participants were asked about their sleep habits, mental health and well-being, and took part in a series of cognitive tests. pictures of often and genetic data was available for almost 40,000 of the study participants.
The team found that insufficient or excessive sleep duration is associated with poorer cognitive performance, affecting processing speed, visual attention, memory and problem-solving abilities.
Seven hours of sleep per night was the ideal amount of sleep for cognitive performance and good mental health, with people experiencing more symptoms of anxiety and depressed and worsening of general well-being if they reported having slept more or less.
Researchers say one possible reason for the association between insufficient sleep and cognitive decline may be due to a disturbance in slow-wave sleep, better known as “deep sleep.” Interruption of this type of sleep has been shown to have a strong link to memory consolidation as well as the accumulation of amyloid – a key protein which, when misfolded, can cause “ tangles” in the brain characteristic of some forms of dementia. . In addition, lack of sleep can impair the brain’s ability to get rid of toxins accumulated by its normal functioning.
The team also found a link between the amount of sleep and differences in the structure of brain regions involved in cognitive processing and memory, again with greater changes associated with more or less than seven hours of sleep.
Article: The brain structure and genetic mechanisms underlying the nonlinear association between sleep duration, cognition and mental health
Authors: Yuzhu Li, Barbara J. Sahakian, Jujiao Kang, Christelle Langley, Wei Zhang, Chao Xie, Shitong Xiang, Jintai Yu, Wei Cheng, Jianfeng Feng
Publication: Nature Aging