And here’s even more proof that a good night’s rest is oh-so important. A 10-year long study from scientists at the Duke-NUS Graduate School in Singapore tracked a group of elderly volunteers to see how sleep affected their brains. The 66 participants were required to have a MRI every two years and answer questions about their sleep habits. Those who were sleeping less showed more brain swelling over time. The big deal about the swelling? It was in regions of the brain that might indicate faster cognitive decline, according to the findings published in the journal Sleep.
This study doesn’t bring up a lot of new information, but does reinforce other common findings: that consistently getting decent sleep is a healthy choice. “Work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In coming years, we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long-term brain health, too,” said Professor Michael Chee, the study’s senior author and Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.
On the opposite side, another recent study from researchers at the University of Warick in England warned that too much sleep also isn’t ideal. Of the 9,000 participants, those who slept less than six hours or more than eight hours a night showed worse memories and decision-making abilities.
So, it sounds more sleep is good. Just don’t sleep too much.