How Much Sleep Should Seniors Get?

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Sleeping too little or too much is associated with poorer cognitive performance and mental health.

If you want to keep your mind sharp, try to get seven hours of sleep every night in middle and advanced age, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Cambridge in England and Fudan University in China.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “This Is the ‘Ideal’ Amount of Sleep for Older Adults” reports that getting less or more than seven hours of sleep is more apt to lead to poorer cognitive performance and mental health, the study found.

Researchers examined data from nearly a half-million British adults between the ages of 38 and 73 that included detailed information about their sleep patterns and mental and physical health.

They concluded that sleeping too little or too much was associated with poorer cognitive performance, including reduced processing speed, visual attention and memory.

Anxiety, depression and worse overall well-being also were more frequently found in those who didn’t sleep for the optimal seven hours — no less, no more — each night.

The researchers think that that disruption of slow-wave sleep — commonly called “deep sleep” — might result in a buildup of amyloid, a protein which leads to the brain “tangles” associated with some forms of dementia.

Failing to get the right amount of sleep also might keep the brain from ridding itself of toxins.

In a press release about the study, professor Jianfeng Feng from Fudan University says:

“While we can’t say conclusively that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, our analysis looking at individuals over a longer period of time appears to support this idea.”

“But the reasons why older people have poorer sleep appear to be complex, influenced by a combination of our genetic makeup and the structure of our brains.”

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Reference: Money Talks News (May 5, 2022) “This Is the ‘Ideal’ Amount of Sleep for Older Adults”