Sleep powers the mind restores the body and fortifies virtually every system in the body. But how much sleep do we really need to get these benefits?
When it comes to the middle-aged group, the optimum amount of sleep is not too little but not too much.
Seven hours a night is found to be ideal for mental health, according to the study published in the scientific journal Nature Aging. Too much more or less sleep was associated with more symptoms of depression and anxiety and worse overall well-being.
“The reasons why older people have a poorer sleep appear to be complex, influenced by a combination of our genetic makeup and the structure of our brains,” said the senior study author, Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University in China.
Brain scans showed that people who got about seven hours of sleep each night had fewer structural changes in regions of the brain associated with cognitive processing and memory than study participants who got too little or too much sleep.
The study also found that participants who consistently got about seven hours each night, without too much deviation from this pattern, had a better cognitive function and mental health than people whose sleep patterns varied a lot or who got excessive or insufficient amounts of rest.