New study has claimed that staying up for longer hours can make the older adults’ brain age faster.
Past research had examined the impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions in older adults. Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.
Researchers from the Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study, where participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every two years.
Their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire, and it was found that those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.
Lead author Dr June Lo concluded that the findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging.
Professor Michael Chee added that work done elsewhere suggests that seven hours a day for adults seems to be the sweet spot for optimal performance on computer based cognitive tests, and in coming years they hoped to determine what was good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health.