Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you tired the next day, it has a bad effect on your memory and your ability to function, and can bring on a whole lot of other physical problems if left to go too long. A new study now shows that lack of sleep also AGES the brain. Surprisingly, they also found that TOO MUCH sleep does the same thing!
A five-year study at University College London Medical School (and published in May 1 issue of the journal Sleep ) tracked the sleeping pattern of a group of 5,431 participants (1,459 women and 3,972 men), most between the ages of 35-55. It was a follow up study from 2007, and the results proved to be the same. Too much or too little sleep has an adverse affect on the brain, and can reduce cognitive function from four to seven years.
On average, those in the study who slept between 7-8 hours a night scored better on cognitive tests. Those who started out with 6-8 hours a night and then lessened their sleep time were more at risk for cardiovascular problems and a shortened lifespan. Those who lengthened a shorter sleep time to get their 7-8 hours saw an increase in cognitive skills and memory improvement. “In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping seven or eight hours per night is optimal for health,” said Dr. Jane E. Ferrie, PhD, lead researchers in the study. “In contrast to this,” she added, “the finding that an increased duration of sleep among those sleeping seven to eight hours is associated with higher levels of mortality implies that sleep restriction should at least be considered.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
- If you are still having problems, consult your doctor or a sleep specialist.
According to the authors, good quality and adequate sleep is imperative to human functioning and well-being. Sleep deprivation and lack of sleep has an adverse effect on our performance, reaction times, attention or concentration, and make us more accident-prone. In addition, the amount of time spent in quality sleep has been found to be associated with a wide range of quality of life measures, such as social skills, mental and physical health, and a shortened life span. Too much sleep time is usually an indication of depression, and that should be addressed as well.
“The detrimental effects of too much, too little and poor quality sleep on various aspects of health have begun to receive more attention,” Ferrie added. “Given that our 24/7 society increasingly impinges on the lives of many people, it is important to consider what effects changes in sleep duration may have on health and well-being in the long term.”
A good night’s sleep has always been an important part of my memory training program, and this article shows that I have not been wrong.
From the desk of Ron White
AARP Magazine — Snooze or Lose by Holly St. Lifer
EurekAlert! — Short, Long Sleep Duration Associated With Increased Mortality: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-12/aaos-jss111907.php
Science Daily – Too Much or Too Little Sleep May Accelerate Cognitive Aging, Study Shows: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110501183643.htm