The importance of quality sleep has been discussed many times, with more emphasis on getting a good night’s sleep as opposed to sleeping the 4-5 hours a night that many people have been doing habitually, especially when under the pressure of completing something.
When cram-studying for exams, for example, surveys show that many students may have as little 10 hours of sleep in the span of 5 days.
There are many benefits to getting enough sleep in a night, one of which is memory retention – which is why it’s better to study for an exam in intervals, having many nights of sleep in between. This allows more memory retention.
Therefore, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. However, to some people, a good night’s sleep at the end of the week is a little more than 7-8 hours.
Personally, I’ve once slept for 19 hours after an exam back in college. Apparently, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it has been agreed upon that all of us should stop ‘sleeping in’.
In the study, it was suggested that having more than 9 hours of sleep a day can negatively affect your memory and thinking the same way lack of sleep does.
When asked over 15,000 women about their sleep habits, while having their cognitive functions tested over 6 years, those who slept too little (less than 5 hours a day) or too much (more than 5 hours a day) tested significantly less than those who normally slept 7 to 8 hours a day.
‘Significantly’ was an understatement though. The researchers estimated that those who slept too much or too little were mentally older than those who slept the recommended amount by two years. And no, in this case, wisdom does not come with age.
Additionally, the study also showed that the change in sleeping habits (number of hours slept per day) over time of more than 2 hours might lead to poorer cognitive skills.
Meaning, if you’ve been sleeping a set amount of time for an extended period in your life, you might not want to make a major life change in terms of sleeping schedule.
The researchers reason that oversleeping is also associated with poor sleep quality, which is why thinking and cognition is affected as much as it is.
Maybe it’s time to change you alarm clock habits.