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Sleeping Too Much Also Linked to Cognitive Decline Over Time, Research Shows

woman sleeping
A woman sleeping face down. (Photo: Unsplash)

Sleeping is important for many reasons as it helps the body repair itself so it could function properly. However, many people do not get enough sleep that increases their risk for various health conditions. Now, a new study shows that sleeping too much is also detrimental to cognition over time.

man sleeping

Too little or too much sleep can lead to cognitive decline over time. (Photo: Pexels)

Sleeping Too Much Lead to Cognitive Decline

A recent study published in the Oxford Academic journal Brain showed that just like getting too little sleep, sleeping too much is also linked to cognitive decline. According to Science Alert, they looked at 100 adults in their mid-to-late 70s and tracked them for four to five years, wherein participants has to complete a range of commonplace cognitive and neuropsychological tests.

Moreover, their sleep was also measured using a single-electrode encephalography (EEG) that is done every three years. This device will measure brain activity that will tell them whether or not someone was asleep, for how long, and whether it was a restful sleep. They also took into consideration other factors that affect cognitive decline, like age, genetics, and signs of beta-amyloid or tau.

They found that sleeping for less than 4.5 hours has a similar effect to sleeping more than 6.5 hours a night, alongside poor sleep quality. That means whether a person sleeps less or too much, these are both associated with cognitive decline over time. More so, they said that the effects of sleep duration on cognitive function are the same as the effect of age.

What is a Healthy Sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation said that good quality or healthy sleep should meet the three criteria: sleep duration, sleep continuity, and sleep timing.

For sleep duration, they recommend adults to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Older adults aged 65 and up, adults should have seven to eight hours of sleep. For teens, they should get eight to 10 hours and babies should have at least 17 hours of sleep.

Meanwhile, sleep continuity is defined as undisrupted sleep through the night. It is as important as sleep duration in helping the brain function well.

Lastly, circadian rhythms are also involved in having a good night’s sleep because the body’s internal clock is regulated by environmental cues, such as light.