In order to have a sharp mind, we must rest it for enough time. Not like we needed another reason to get more sleep, but new research has found that adults who did not get enough sleep caused their brains the age faster.

Researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical Scool Singapre examined 66 older Chinese adults in a Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study, reviewing their MRI brain scans that measured brain volume and neuropsychological assessment, which tested cognitive function over two years. The participants also recorded their sleep duration in a questionnaire.

The study, which was published in the journal Sleep, found that those who slept fewer hours showed faster ventricle enlargement and a decline in cognitive function. Previous research found that ventricle enlargement is the indicator for cognitive decline. It also marks the development of Alzheimer’s.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” said Dr June Lo, the lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow.

“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, “ senior author Professor Michael Chee said. “In coming years we hope to determine what’s good for cardio-metabolic and long term brain health too,” added Chee, the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.

The study may help future scientists identify and treat dementia and other cognitive decline.

How many hours of sleep do you get per night?

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