The University of Warwick found an association between both the duration and quality of sleep and brain function, something that changes with age.
Researchers from the university asked 3,968 men and 4,821 women to analyse the quantity and quality of sleep over the course of a month. The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) then studied the brain function of respondents during the same period.
The results found that in adults aged 50-64, short sleep (less than six hours a night) and long sleep (over eight hours a night) were both linked to lower brain function. In contrast to this, in those aged 65-89, only long sleep was linked to lower brain function.
Dr Michelle A Miller commented,
“Six to eight hours of sleep per night is particularly important for optimum brain function, in younger adults. This amount is optimal for physical health, including lower risk of developing obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.”
The study also revealed that in younger adults, sleep quality did not have a significant link with brain function. The association was largely found in adults aged 65+. Professor Francesco Cappuccio spoke out to say that optimising sleep as we age can help to delay the decline in brain function and may even help to prevent the rapid decline that leads to dementia.
This study reveals just one of the many reasons why sleep is important to health. If you are struggling to get enough good quality sleep, seeking support earlier rather than later is advised. For many people hypnotherapy provides a useful tool for overcoming insomnia, helping to understand the root cause of insomnia and promote relaxation.
To find out more about this approach, please read our hypnotherapy for insomnia page.
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