Most of us literally struggle to get through the day after a bad night’s sleep: we feel foggy and disoriented, not performing the usual standards at school, college, or work. We may notice that we can’t focus either, maybe our memory doesn’t seem to be working well either. Decades of poor sleep have the potential to lead to cognitive decline. However, recent studies show that both too much and too little sleep can interfere with optimal ‘performance’ in the day.
Therefore, it is important to get enough sleep and good quality
Lack of sleep also affects people’s mood and behaviour, whether it is in young children or the elderly. So the big question is, how much sleep does our brain need to function properly in the long term? The aging nature A new research study published in the journal may provide some answers.
Experts say sleep is an important part of maintaining normal brain function.
The brain is said to “reorganize and recharge itself” during sleep. In addition to removing toxic waste and strengthening our immune system, sleep is key to what is called “memory boosting,” in which new parts of memory based on our experience are transferred to long-term memory.
In addition, the optimal amount and quality of sleep allows for more energy and better well-being, while helping to develop our creativity and thinking. Barbara Jacqueline Sahakian, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge ZME Science Online science portal.
In a study of infants aged 3 to 12 months, researchers found that better sleep is associated with better behavioral outcomes in the first year of our lives, such as helping us adapt to new situations or regulating emotions more effectively. These are the important early “building blocks” of cognition, including the “cognitive flexibility” (the ability to easily change perspective) associated with well-being in later life.
Regular sleep appears to be the brain’s “default mode network” (default networkDMN), which includes areas that are active when we are awake but do not perform a specific task, such as resting when our mind is distracted. This network includes areas important for cognitive function: For example, the posterior cingulate cortex (which is inactivated during cognitive tasks), the parietal lobe (which processes sensory information), and the frontal cortex (which is involved in complex design and perception).
There are indications that poor sleep in adolescents and young adults may be associated with ‘network disturbances’. Christelle Langley, a postdoctoral researcher in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, noted this. This is important because our brains are still developing in our late teens and early adulthood.
He added that disruption of this network can therefore affect cognition, such as disrupting focus and memory-based processing, as well as more advanced cognitive processing.
Changes in sleep patterns, including falling asleep and difficulty falling asleep, are important features of the aging process.
These sleep disturbances are more likely to contribute to cognitive decline and mental disorders in older adults, according to the study.
Strive to get the right amount of sleep
The study conducted by the scientists aimed to better understand the relationship between sleep, cognition and well-being. they found it
Both insufficient and excessive sleep have contributed to the decline in cognitive performance
Among the middle-aged and older population of nearly 500,000 adults in the UK, the data was obtained from the Biobank.
However, children and adolescents have not been studied by professionals because the brain is developing at this time, so their need for sleep may vary.
Our main finding was that sleeping seven hours a night is optimal, with more or less benefits in terms of cognition and mental health. Explained Jianfeng Feng, Professor of Science and Technology of Brain-Inspired Intelligence at Fudani University. In fact, we found that people who slept a lot performed better on average on cognitive tests (including processing speed, visual attention, and memory) than those who slept less or more.
So people need a total of seven hours of sleep all the time without excessive fluctuation in duration.
There is a link between sleep and the risk of dementia
However, we all react slightly differently to sleep deprivation. The study discovered that the relationship between sleep duration, cognition and mental health is mediated by genetics and brain structure. The researchers found that The areas of the brain most affected by sleep deprivation include the hippocampus, known for its role in learning and memory, and areas of the frontal cortex that are involved in the top-down regulation of emotions.And while sleep can affect our brains, it can also work in the opposite direction.
Age-related shrinkage of areas of the brain involved in regulating sleep and wakefulness may contribute to sleep problems later on Highlighting Wei Cheng, a young neuroscientist at Fudan University. It can reduce the production and secretion of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep cycle in the elderly.
According to experts, this finding appears to support other evidence suggesting an association between sleep duration and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
While seven hours of sleep appears to be optimal for controlling dementia, the study suggests that adequate sleep may also help relieve dementia symptoms by protecting memory.
This highlights the importance of monitoring sleep duration in older patients with psychiatric disorders and dementia to improve their cognitive function and mental health and well-being.
We can do this for better sleep
So what can we do to improve our sleep for optimal cognition and well-being in our daily lives?
A good start, scientists say, is to make sure that the temperature and ventilation in the bedroom is correct: it should be cool and well-ventilated.
Also avoid watching a lot of alcohol, thriller movies, or other exciting content before going to bed. Ideally, we should be calm and relaxed when trying to sleep. Think of something nice and relaxing, like the beach, because it works for a lot of people.
Technological solutions such as sleep aids can also have a beneficial effect on mental health as well as sleep monitoring and consistency in sleep duration.
Finally, the researchers suggest that in order to enjoy life and “function optimally” in daily life, it is worth monitoring our sleep habits to ensure that we sleep seven hours regularly.
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