Scientists have named the optimal duration of sleep in middle and older age

(ORDO NEWS) — An analysis of the condition of hundreds of thousands of people over 35 years old showed that it is important to maintain optimal sleep duration in order to maintain health, and its excess is just as harmful as its deficiency.

Sleep takes up almost a third of a person’s life, and this time is not wasted at all. In a dream, the brain undergoes a deep “cleansing” of accumulated debris, analyzes and streamlines the fresh experience and experiences of the day.

However, over the years, it becomes more and more difficult to fall asleep, and sleep becomes more and more superficial. Perhaps this contributes to the development of many “age-related” diseases, and to the decline in cognitive functions.

Therefore, we must try regardless of the years: as scientists from the UK and China have shown, middle-aged and older people need to sleep about seven hours a day.

This duration provides the best health and cognitive test scores, according to an article published in the journal Nature Aging . Briefly about the work is described in a press release from the University of Cambridge.

Wei Cheng and his colleagues used data from the UK Biobank longitudinal study of UK residents, selecting information from approximately 500,000 participants aged 38 to 73 years.

All of them took a series of tests of cognitive abilities, and also filled out detailed questionnaires about their state of health and sleep patterns. For 40 thousand participants, there were even the results of genetic analysis and MRI of the brain.

After analyzing this information using a computer algorithm, the scientists showed that both lack of and excess sleep negatively affects a number of cognitive functions, including attention, memory, reaction speed, and so on.

The best results in the tests were shown by people who sleep an average of seven hours, and they also have a more stable mental and psychological state – a relatively low level of anxiety, depression, and so on.

These conclusions were confirmed in the tomography data. Participants who slept significantly less or more than the optimal time showed changes in structures associated with memory and the performance of “higher” cognitive functions. Scientists attribute this to a violation of the qualitative cyclicity of sleep with its excess or deficiency.

The lack of time for the “slow” phase, in which the necessary processes mainly occur, can lead to the accumulation of “waste”, the appearance and growth of amyloid plaques in neurons, which have a very destructive effect on the brain.

However, the real mechanisms underlying the found correlation are probably much more complicated, and finding them out is a matter for the future.


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