Are you getting enough? 😴
Have you ever slept for 10 hours and still felt exhausted afterward? It's called oversleeping, and a new study suggests that it can be just as bad as not sleeping enough.
According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature Aging, there's a sweet spot for the number of hours you sleep, and it can really affect your day-to-day activities.
That ideal number is about seven hours of sleep a night for people in their late 30s and older, according to the study.
Being on either extreme end of the sleep spectrum can cause significant side effects in day-to-day life, the study suggests. That includes making it harder to solve problems, make decisions, pay attention, remember things or learn new ideas.
The study found there are several direct benefits to getting seven hours of sleep, especially in those struggling with anxiety and depression, as they reported better mental health. Those who got more or less sleep than seven hours reported worse mental health conditions, the study found.
"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," said Jianfeng Feng, one of the authors of the study, in a statement obtained by CNN.
"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," Feng added.
The study involved about half a million adults, although there were some limitations to the data. For instance, it only looked at people between 38 and 73 years old from the UK Biobank, and it included "94% white people."
Those who participated were asked about their mental health and the amount of sleep they got and participated in cognitive tests.
According to the study's authors, because the study involved such a large volume of people, it's likely that the results are robust.
Similarly, other studies found that older adults who have difficulty falling asleep and who wake up frequently throughout the night had a higher risk of developing dementia or dying early.
According to Dr. Tali Shenfield, a clinical psychologist practicing in the Toronto area, there is both a direct and reverse correlation between insufficient sleep and ADHD.
"Increased stress and anxiety during the pandemic contributed to sleep problems, which in turn amplified dormant symptoms of ADHD in many adults. As a result, a number of Google search queries for ADHD symptoms and interest in ADHD assessments in adults tripled since 2019,” she added.
A lack of sleep has also been linked to cardiovascular diseases.
So, all in all, try to get a consistent seven hours of sleep — your future self will thank you for it!
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.