Forget 8 hours, that's how much sleep you should be if you're over 40 according to a new study

How much sleep should we have each night to be at our best during the day? The English study shows that it depends on age

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Beyond what tech gurus or big business owners claim, who claim to sleep very little and wake up at four in the morning every day to be as productive as possible, sleeping is a fundamental action for our well-being, as it allows us to be responsive during the day, focused on work or our activities; moreover, lack of sleep results in health problems, anxiety, depression - as shown by numerous studies. (Read also: Sleep: Are you getting enough sleep? How to calculate when you should go to bed)

But how long should we sleep to stay healthy and be at our best? It was once said that the right night's rest lasted eight hours, but now experts no longer all agree with this statement.

A new study conducted in the UK links the time of a good night's rest to age, showing that seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep during middle age. The study involved nearly 500.000 adults between the ages of 38 and 73, who reported their sleep habits through interviews and questionnaires.

The information on the rest of the participants was then crossed with data relating to their brain health: it was found that the area of ​​the brain most affected by sleep, i.e. the hippocampus, would reduce in size both in case of too much sleep. that of too little rest. The people who reported sleeping seven hours a night, on the other hand, performed best on cognitive tests for processing speed, visual attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.

One factor that would explain the link between insufficient rest and cognitive decline could be the interruption of deep (slow wave) sleep, which plays a very important role in the formation of memories and the consolidation of information in memory. Additionally, lack of sleep could also prevent the brain from effectively eliminating toxins.

As for the opposite excess, or too much sleep, scientists have not yet fully understood the reasons why this habit also causes the hippocampus to shrink: it is probably a reflection of a disturbed sleep, of poor quality, often interrupted. - which brings us back to the previous explanation.

Here is how many hours to sleep at each age. The chart

In short, sleeping well is very important in all stages of life, but in particular from a certain age: according to the authors of the study, it has a weight equal to that of physical exercise in our daily life.

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Fonte: Nature Aging

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