Early to bed, early to rise…. Yes, it’s actually true. Sleeping in regularly is not a good idea if you are aiming to keep your brain sharp. According to a new study, people in their 60s and 70s who slept an average of 9 hours or more in a single day were more likely to experience cognitive decline over a three year period than peers who slept 6-8 hours.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is denoted by a decline in cognitive function like memory and thinking. MCI is a factor for dementia.
Research considered almost 3000 older adults over a 3 year period
The research team looked at data from a large cohort of over 2700 people in their 60s and 70s who were followed for three years. At the beginning and end of the study the volunteers underwent assessment of brain function using the mini-mental state examination (MMSE). This is one of many accepted tests for measuring dementia. During the three years the group was also asked to fill in reports about their sleeping habits.
Long sleepers rated highest in cognitive decline
About half of the group were normal sleepers sleeping an average of 6-8 hours in a 24-hour period. About 40% were long sleepers with nine or more hours in bed and about 10% were short sleepers only clocking around 5 hours a day. During the follow up visits, the MMSE scores declined in all three groups, with long sleepers showing almost double the amount of decline than the normal sleepers.
Relationship of sleep to mental acuity is not clear
A causal relationship was not determined by the tests and more study will be needed to show the relationship of long sleep patterns to dementia or MCI. Other studies have shown that too much or too little sleep is associated with chronic disease like diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity and anxiety in mature adults, aged 45 and older.
Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research, MedicalNewsToday