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Sweet Spot for Sleep

From eNewsletter 1/23/2023

DID YOU KNOW that a massive study of more than 500,000 people suggests that if you're between 38 and 72 years old, and you're interested in improved memory, greater focus, and better problem-solving and decision-making abilities, then eight to nine hours of sleep might be a little bit too much?

According to a study in Nature Aging, scientists over a 16 year span focused squarely on the participants's brains, as opposed to focusing on other sleep health issues. Participants were asked about their sleep habits along with questions about their mental health and wellbeing, and took part in a series of cognitive tests. Additionally, for about 40,000 of the 500,000 participants, brain imaging and genetic data were tabulated.

Those who got either too much or too little sleep tended to do worse on tests measuring mental processing speed and visual attention, to demonstrate worse memory and problem-solving skills, and to have more symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The authors concluded: "Seven hours of sleep per night was the optimal amount of sleep for cognitive performance, but also for good mental health, with people experiencing more symptoms of anxiety and depression and worse overall wellbeing if they reported sleeping for longer or shorter durations".


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