Sleep: Moderation Is Key
When it comes to sleep, finding your “sweet spot” may be fundamental to protecting your brain against cognitive problems. That’s the finding of a recent study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They analyzed data from 100 older participants whose cognitive function had been monitored for an average of 4.5 years. Most of the volunteers had no cognitive impairments, while 12 had either mild or very mild impairments. The participants also underwent sleep testing for four to six days.
The researchers found that the volunteers who reported either sleeping fewer than 5.5 hours or more than 7.5 hours a night during the study showed declines in their cognitive scores. However, the scores stayed the same in people who slept a moderate number of hours daily between these two numbers. “It was particularly interesting to see that not only those with short amounts of sleep but also those with long amounts of sleep had more cognitive decline,” said the study’s co-senior author. “It suggests that sleep quality may be key, as opposed to simply total sleep.” (Brain, October 20, 2021)
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