Health And Medicine

The Less You Sleep, The Faster Your Brain Ages

A study at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) has found that the less a person sleeps, the faster his brain ages. A good amount of sleep is necessary for normal brain and body function, nevertheless we let our busy lives deprive us of the optimum amount of sleep we need. The study also shows how it contributes to cognitive decline, including dementia.

A study at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) has found that the less a person sleeps, the faster his brain ages. A good amount of sleep is necessary for normal brain and body function, nevertheless we let our busy lives deprive us of the optimum amount of sleep we need. The findings were published in the journal SLEEP, and it also shows that the less you sleep, you are more like to have cognitive decline, including dementia.

Ventricular system

Previous researches have shown association of little sleep with worse brain function with age and link of poor sleep with Alzheimer’s biomarker, but this study is the first of its kind to have found direct impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions.

Enlargement of brain ventricles is associated with aging; faster the brain ventricle enlarges, quicker the brain function will decline and chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) will increase. The research claims that less sleep is associated with faster ventricle enlargement.

ALSO SEE:Β Scientists Think Green Tea Extract Can Be Used To Cure Dementia

In the study, the participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive functions every two years. The researchers also recorded their sleep through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed faster ventricle enlargement and their cognitive performance declined rapidly.

According to Dr. June Lo, the lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow, at least 7 hours a day sleep is essential for adults, which seems to be the best spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests. In the near future, he is planning to carry out researches to determine the amount of sleep necessary for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health.

31 comments

  1. I feel on a low note considering that my life has progressed from prolonged to adequate to lesser amount of sleep time; thanks to you and this article, I’ll attempt to go back on my original nap schedule.

  2. Sleep is so essential to good health and well-being. I’m glad that there’s some data available to encourage people to sleep more. πŸ™‚

  3. Interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Makes perfect sense- and I am in the category of parenting and getting less sleep than I need! I appreciated your thoughts on that in the comments section.

  4. I’m a part time shift worker and three days a week have to get up around 4am. That gives me usually five hours sleep. But when I get home about midday, I usually have a siesta after lunch for about two hours. Does that count?

    1. Guess it counts. As long as you feel physically and mentally okay with the amount of sleep you get, you are sleeping the right amount. For most people it’s not less than 7 hours a day.

  5. Would be interesting to see what the number of optimal hours for sleep is. And also if different age groups have varying sleep needs. Thanks for the post!

    1. You are right, but 6-9 hours suits most of the adults and elderly need a bit more than adults! Well, whatever suits you but sleeping less than 6/7 hours doesn’t suit many people.

  6. I am 80. I remember reading about research with two conclusions:
    1) people after 70 need at least 9 hours of sleep daily,
    2) people after 70 don’t need 7 hours of sleep daily.
    As a former scientist I’d like to know how old were participants in the research above when it started, how many people were monitored and to what age groups the conclusion is applicable.

    1. Well, the original article published in the journal ‘SLEEP’ says that group of volunteers comprised of 66 elderly Chinese who have been monitored for two years by MRI scans and were questioned about their sleep habits as well. Although the experiment observed results in elderly but its my assessment that it’s probably applicable to all ages at least after 30 as our ability to respond to environmental stresses declines, risk of diseases increases and even organ degeneration starts occurring after 30-35 which is exactly what aging is. Hope it helped.

    1. Yeah, guess so but you will get the reward for that, when your children grow up a little they will have better sleep pattern. You’ll have to sacrifice for now but you will be able to get back your normal sleep amount once your child is a bit older. πŸ˜‰

    1. No, it doesn’t. Actually, it’s almost as bad as sleeping less,a research back in May found out extreme sleep worsens memory. So, you will have to get the average amount to sleep to keep your brain and body healthy.

What Do You Think?