Oct. 9, 2018 (MedicalXpress) -- Preliminary results from the world's largest sleep study have shown that people who sleep on average between seven to eight hours per night performed better cognitively than those who slept less -- or more -- than this amount. Western neuroscientists at the Brain and Mind Institute released their findings today in Sleep.
According to the study, approximately half of all participants reported typically sleeping less than 6.3 hours per night, about an hour less than the study's recommended amount. One startling revelation was that most participants who slept four hours or less performed as if they were almost nine years older.
Another surprising discovery was that sleep affected all adults equally. The amount of sleep associated with highly functional cognitive behavior was the same for everyone (seven to eight hours), regardless of age. Also, the impairment associated with too little or too much sleep did not depend on the age of the participants.
"We found the optimum amount of sleep to keep your brain performing its best is seven to eight hours every night. 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," says Conor Wild, Owen Lab Research Associate and the study's lead author.