The Optimal Amount of Sleep Time Changes Gradually with Age

by Wall Street Rebel - Michael London | 10/04/2022 11:43 AM
The Optimal Amount of Sleep Time Changes Gradually with Age

Insufficient or excessive sleep has been linked to impaired attention, memory, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making, with research suggesting that seven hours of sleep is optimal.


Although researchers cannot determine the ideal amount of sleep for an individual, there are some general recommendations. A serious loss of sleep, defined as sleeping for less than six or seven hours each night, has been linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. You should be aware of this information.

It may seem like a lot of time, but the fact that we sleep for an average of 3,000 hours each year—which is equivalent to one-third of our whole lives—is not the result of random chance. A lack of sleep is related to a number of cognitive and physiological processes in the body, and a lack of sleep can lead to unpleasant health implications such as chronic diseases, obesity, and heart disease. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to negative psychological effects.

It is essential to have an accurate understanding of the minimum amount of sleep required for a good functioning, as this will vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors. If you want to take advantage of the potential benefits of sleep each night, how many hours of sleep should you aim for? The solution was discovered by researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

The researchers reviewed the responses of 498,277 people aged 38 to 73 who had completed surveys regarding their patterns and length of sleep, mental health, and general well-being. Out of this cohort, there were 40,000 volunteers that had brain imaging profiles, and they also provided extra genetic data for the researchers to examine. The data for this study was obtained from the UK BioBank.

The study's findings, which were published in the journal Nature Aging, indicate that people who slept for approximately seven hours each day without major deviation in their regular sleep patterns over extended durations had higher levels of cognitive performance. Additionally, the study improved the participant's mental health and general well-being. On the other hand, it appeared that a bit less or some more sleep was associated with impaired cognitive performance in tasks such as memory and problem-solving skills and mental health in the participants.

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In some participants, the authors discovered a correlation between the amount of sleep they had and changes in the volume of central brain regions engaged in memory processing, such as the hippocampus and other areas involved in cognitive processing. According to Professor Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University, who was quoted in a statement, "While we can't say unequivocally that too little or too much sleep causes cognitive problems, it seems that our analysis that looks at people over a longer period of time supports this idea. However, it seems that the reasons that older people suffer from poorer sleep are complex and due to a combination of individual genetic makeup and brain structure."

The authors provide a possible explanation for why insufficient sleep as we age may lead to cognitive decline and explain that it may be due to a slow-motion sleep disorder that was previously associated with dementia and memory difficulties. They suggest that this may be due to a slow-motion sleep disorder as a possible explanation for why insufficient sleep as we age may lead to cognitive decline. Previous research has shown that getting too much sleep might lead to a reduction in cognitive function; however, the new study did not speculate why getting too much sleep might be bad.

Russell Foster, a professor at the University of Oxford and director of the Sir Jules Thorn Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, who was not involved in the research, cautioned that the study showed a link, not a cause and effect relationship, between cognitive problems and excessive amounts of sleep as well as inadequate amounts of sleep. He stated that the study had not considered the health status of participants and that insufficient or excessive sleep could indicate underlying health disorders associated with cognitive difficulties.

He mentioned that an average of seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep. He added that considering the average of seven hours as the best amount of sleep "ignores the fact that there is considerable individual variation in sleep duration" and quality. According to what he had to say, some people could be perfectly healthy on either less or more sleep.

"Daily, we are informed that the 'optimal' amount of sleep for elderly people is seven hours of continuous rest during the night. This belief is incorrect in a great number of respects. According to Foster, author of the forthcoming book "Life Time: The New Science of the Body Clock, and How It Can Revolutionize Your Sleep and Health," "sleep is like shoe size; one size does not fit all, and by categorizing 'good sleep' in this way can generate confusion and anxiety for man."

The amount of time we spend sleeping, the times of day at which we feel most rested, and the number of times we awaken during the night can vary greatly from person to person and as we age. The way we sleep changes over time, and everyone of us has our own unique sleeping patterns. The most important thing is figuring out how much sleep each of us requires.

The current study utilized a sizeable sample, allowing for robust conclusions from the findings. However, the authors point out that there are some limitations: the respondents provided responses, which may introduce some bias, and the researchers only asked questions about the participants' total sleep duration rather than other aspects, such as their sleep hygiene practices.

It's crucial to obtain a decent night's sleep no matter what stage of life you're in, especially as you age. According to Professor Barbara Sahakian of the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge University, "finding ways to improve sleep for older people can be essential to help them maintain mental health and well-being and avoid cognitive decline, especially for patients with psychiatric disorders and dementia."

According to Dr. Singh, a restful night's sleep can be disrupted by several different things. According to him, the factors contributing to waking up in the middle of the night or having trouble getting a good night's sleep include your job schedule, circadian preferences, social duties, and sleep disorders. According to Breus, research has shown that factors such as your age, gender, socioeconomic level, surroundings, mental health difficulties, and alcohol, caffeine, or cannabis can all impact the quality of sleep you get.

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Breus adds, "Personally, I believe that it is folly to try and pick one number for my complete sleep demands," and he agrees with this sentiment. He goes on to say that he monitors the quality of his sleep with the use of a sleep tracker because he believes that the quality of one's sleep is more important than the quantity of sleep one gets. He also mentions that the amount of sleep a person requires will vary depending on the individual.

However, there is still a lot that is unknown about the function that sleep plays in health and how much sleep each individual needs. According to a few research findings, senior citizens require less sleep. A study published on February 1, 2010, in the journal Sleep, concluded that elderly adults require less sleep. When younger people were instructed to lie in bed for 16 hours in the dark each day for multiple days as part of a study that was published in the journal Current Biology in 2008, the researchers discovered that, on average, younger people slept 9 hours while older people received 7.5 hours of sleep.

The following are some broad guidelines on how much sleep is required, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

Age group

The recommended amount of sleep

Infants 4 months to 12 mos       

12 to 16 hours per 24 hours, including naps

1 to 2 years

11 to 14 hours per 24 hours, including naps

3 to 5 years

10 to 13 hours per 24 hours, including naps

6 to 12 years

9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

13 to 18 years

8 to 10 hours per 24 hours


7 or more hours a night


                       Study reveals seven hours of sleep is optimal in middle, old age



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