Do you keep a track of how many hours you sleep? If not, you should! A new study states that people who sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours every day perform better cognitively than those who do not. As part of the study, more than 40,000 people from around the world participated in the online scientific investigation, which includes an in-depth questionnaire and a series of cognitive performance activities. The lead researcher, Adrian Owen explained just why and how they conducted the research.
“We really wanted to capture the sleeping habits of people around the globe. Obviously, there have been smaller sleep studies of people in laboratories, but we wanted to find out what sleep is like in the real world,” he said. “People who logged in gave us a lot of information about themselves. We had a fairly extensive questionnaire and they told us things like which medications they were on, how old they were, where they were in the world and what kind of education they’d received because these are all factors that might have contributed to some of the results,” he explained. The researchers realised that sleep affected all adults equally. “We found that the optimum amount of sleep to keep your brain performing its best is 7 to 8 hours every night and that corresponds to what the doctors will tell you need to keep your body in tip-top shape, as well. We also found that people that slept more than that amount were equally impaired as those who slept too little,” said Conor Wild, lead author of the study.
Participants’ reasoning and verbal abilities were two of the actions most strongly affected by sleep while short-term memory performance was relatively unaffected. Also, a single night’s sleep can affect a person’s ability to think.
The full findings appear in the journal, Sleep.