Recent Study: 7 Hours of Sleep Is Golden Middle for Adults
written by/ May 13, 2022
The vast data from the UK Biobank enabled another massive sleep study, this time pinpointing the optimal sleep duration an average adult should get — seven hours per night!
The research results published in Nature Aging are very convincing, as they derive from the data of almost half a million adults aged 38–73.
The study was conducted by scientific teams from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University in China, and it involved multiple cognitive tests, well-being questionnaires, and information about the participants’ mental health and sleeping patterns.
Researchers even had brain imaging and genetic information data for approximately 40,000 participants.
Analyzing that data revealed that sleep duration under as well as above seven hours was linked to poor cognitive performance reflected as memory troubles, slower information processing, problem-solving difficulties, and impaired visual attention.
Moreover, scientists found an association between missing the seven-hour mark and poorer mental health. Individuals who slept over or under seven hours a day were also more likely to report anxiety and depression symptoms.
Though scientists still don’t know exactly why these adverse effects occur, they suspect that the disturbance of the deep sleep phase that occurs in short and fragmented sleep is the main culprit.
Deep sleep helps people consolidate memories, and the lack of it is a known risk factor for some forms of dementia and cognitive decline in aging people.
The brain imaging data also revealed a different structure of memory-related brain regions in people who didn’t abide by the seven hours rule.
But you shouldn’t panic if you don’t manage to stay asleep for seven hours. The study authors suggest that they still can’t conclusively say whether too little or too much sleep alone causes the cognitive issues described above.
However, trying to regulate your sleeping pattern by using natural sleep aids such as CBD oil, melatonin, or lavender, can’t hurt.