Sleeping anywhere over seven and a half hours can be harmful for the elderly, a new study has concluded. It is possible to have too much sleep, especially for those in their 70s, and it has been linked to cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s is the main cause of dementia, contributing to around 70 percent cases, the study by Brendan P. Lucey, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the Washington University Sleep Medicine Centre said.
The need for sleep is different for different age groups. Babies generally need anywhere between 14-17 hours of sleep, whereas most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night. Getting sufficient sleep is linked to the regeneration of cells and it is vital for proper bodily functions. Sleep at regular intervals is also important so that the body and mindset have a routine for daily chores for optimal efficiency.
But studies suggest that once an adult crosses the age of 45, too much or two little sleep can raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity. For teens, the importance of adequate sleep is linked to their academic performance and growth. Sleep cycle and getting the right amount of shut-eye has been linked to good mental health as well.
An analysis of over 74 studies involving over three million people discovered that those who slept for 10 hours were 30 percent more likely to die prematurely than those who slept for eight. Researchers have analysed that sleep patterns are affected by cultural, social, psychological, behavioural, pathophysiological and environmental factors.
In today’s ‘always-on’ culture, sleep is becoming a rare commodity that is causing underlying mental or physical conditions that are impacting personal and professional life. Going forward, sleep is going to be a major area of study owing to the socio-economic shifts that the world has witnessed.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)