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For sleep and our brain, think Goldilocks

Not too much, not too little.

At least that’s the conclusion from a study that looked at the hours of sleep for 1000 elderly folks and followed them for roughly 5 years to see which ones developed cognitive decline and who didn’t.

According to this research, those seniors who slept between 5.5 and 7.5 hours a night had the lowest risk of cognitive decline.

In other words, those seniors who slept a lot – over 7. hours/night – still ended up with more cognitive decline than did those seniors who slept fewer hours, which led the researchers to conclude that it’s quality of sleep that matters much more to your brain than does quantity of sleep.

But this certainly doesn’t mean that if you tend to sleep more than 8 hours a night you are definitely headed for cognitive decline – this is but one of many potential risk factors, most of which, I hasten to add, are still unknown – nor does it mean that you should force yourself awake after 8 hours sleeping to preserve your brain function.

First, there is absolutely no evidence that such a tactic may work, and 2nd, there are real and important health risks from curtailing sleep and waking up more tired, especially for seniors,

If you are a long – or short – sleeper, just focus on the other things you could do to keep a healthy brain into your senior years.