Have you ever slept longer than you normally do…
And ended up more tired than if you would have slept less?
There’s a reason for this we want to share with you.
We’ve all heard the advice that you need to sleep 8 hours a night.
However, new data suggests that not only is 8 might not be necessary once you reach middle age.
A study published in the scientific journal (Nature Aging) found that 500,000 adults aged 38-73 had significantly reduced cognitive performance outside the range of 6-7 hours of sleep per night. [R]
Meaning, less than 6 hours and more than 7 hours of sleep resulted in reduced cognition.
Here’s the most likely explanation for this:
Any amount of sleep outside this range disrupts your slow-wave deep sleep. This in turns causes neural proteins to tangle up in harmful ways.
In fact, similar tangling is found in dementia patients.
If you go to bed at a reasonable time, you’ll probably wake up in 6-7 hours naturally.
So, the best practice is to go to bed around 7 hours before you would like to wake up and see if you can do it without an alarm.
This works best if you time your wake up with sunrise.
Your body is wired to recognize light as the wake up call.
Which is why after sleeping 6-7 hours you want to get outside as soon as possible.
That’s also why it’s important to keep your room pitch black when you’re sleeping.
Even the tiniest amount of light can interfere with your sleep.
The researchers add that genetics also plays a role in the amount of sleep we need.
Here’s what one of them, Professor Jianfeng Feng, says:
“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. 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.”
At the end of the day, you need to experiment with yourself and see how your body responds.
If you can naturally get up after 6-7 hours of sleep and get through the day refreshed, great!
If not, adjust until you find that balance for yourself.