Seven hours of sleep is the perfect rest for adults and the elderly – Corriere.it

from Christina Maroney

A new study shows that sleeping too much or too little is linked to poorer cognitive performance and mental health starting in middle age. But the important thing is to find your own pace

The perfect hours of sleep? At least seven hours from middle age. In this way, better cognitive performance will be guaranteed. So concludes new research just published in Nature Aging by a team of Anglo-Chinese researchers.

Sleep changes with age

The sleepingwhich changes with age, plays a An important role in activation cognitive function And maintaining good mental health. It also helps maintain brain health by removing waste. As we age, we often see changes in our sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep with a consequent decrease in the quantity and quality of sleep. Several scientific studies indicate that these sleep disturbances may contribute to cognitive decline and mental disorders in an aging population. However, it is known that with age sleep changes, becomes more fragmented and fragile, deep sleep decreases but this is physiological: in 80 you cannot sleep as in 20, and it is very common to wake up at dawn without being able to sleep..

Seven hours of sleep

In a paper published in Nature Aging, scientists from the United Kingdom and China looked at data from nearly 500,000 adults aged 38 and 73 years old British Biobank. Participants were interviewed about their sleep patterns, mental health, and physical well-being. They also took part in a series of cognitive tests. Brain imaging and genetic data were also available for nearly 40,000 study participants.

By analyzing this data, the research team found that Both insufficient and excessive sleep have been associated with impaired cognitive performancesuch as processing speed, visual attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.

So how much sleep is optimal for optimal cognitive function? According to researchers Seven hours of sleep a night is the optimal amount of rest at night for good mental health too. In fact, volunteers who slept seven hours a night were exactly the ones who got the best results on cognitive tests. In fact, study participants showed more symptoms of anxiety and depression and worse general well-being if they reported sleeping for periods of more than seven hours or less.

deep sleep

Researchers say the possible reason for the link between poor sleep and cognitive decline could be due toslow wave sleep disorder, deep sleep. In fact, it has been shown that interruption of this type of sleep is closely associated with memory booster and a buildup of amyloid, a key protein that can cause the tangles in the brain that characterize some forms of dementia. Lack of sleep can also hinder the brain’s ability to rid itself of toxins. Interrupted sleep is associated with increased inflammation, indicating susceptibility to age-related diseases in the elderly.

However, scientists are less clear on why spending eight or more hours in bed causes problems. One possible explanation is that people with poor-quality sleep disorders actually tend to stay in bed longer to try to make up for lost sleep: Poor sleep efficiencythat is, the ratio of actual sleep time to time spent in bed.

Sleep and cognitive decline

So the researchers concluded that inadequate or excessive sleep may be a risk factor for cognitive decline in old age. This is supported by previous studies that have reported a link between sleep duration and risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, with cognitive decline being a hallmark symptom.

It therefore appears that getting a consistent seven hours of sleep each night, without much fluctuation in duration, is important for correct cognitive functioning, good mental health and well-being. Mr Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University in China explained: While we cannot definitively say that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our analysis examining individuals over a longer period of time appears to support this idea. But the reasons older adults suffer from poor sleep seems complex, influenced by a combination of genetic makeup and the structure of our brains.

the teacher Barbara Sahakian From the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry, among the study’s authors, added: Sleeping well at night is important in all stages of life, and especially with age. Finding ways to improve sleep for older adults can be crucial in helping them maintain good mental health and wellness and avoid cognitive decline, especially for patients with mental disorders and dementia.

How to organize

And if you don’t get seven hours of sleep, what happens? In fact, everyone has their own sleep needs. The optimal number of nightly rest is at least 7 hours for an adult, but for some individuals 4-5 hours may be sufficient without having to undergo low cognitive performance: they are short dorms.

there National Sleep Foundation It recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults between the ages of 26 and 64. For some, six may be enough (no less), for others 10 (no more than that). For people over 65 years of age, 7-8 hours of sleep may be enough, but even then, 5-6 hours may be enough for some, and others may need nine.

What matters is Find your own rhythm, what gets us to “run” well during the day, without worrying about the 7-8 hour rule which is just a general average. In fact, rest should be synchronized with the individual’s biological clock: hormonal rhythms, body temperature, heart rate, pressure, etc. should ‘align’ with sleep and the light/dark cycle.

Apr 29, 2022 (change on Apr 29, 2022 | 14:31)

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