A study conducted at the University of Western Ontario showed that people who snooze on average 7 to 8 hours per night perform better on cognitive tests than individuals who get less or more sleep than this particular amount. This research is considered one of the world’s largest sleep studies and it was conducted by neuroscientists from Western University’s Brain and Mind Institute. The results of the study were published on October 9th in the scientific journal SLEEP.
One of the world’s largest sleep study started in June 2017, and it required people from all around the world to participate in online scientific investigations, such as completing in-depth questionnaires and doing a series of cognitive performance activities. Just within the first days of the study, more than 40,000 people from around the world joined and participated in the study.
One of the leading scientists at the University of Western Ontario, Adrian Owen says that his idea was to capture and inspect the sleeping patterns and habits of people all around the globe. His team wasn’t interested in conducting small sleep studies that were nationally focused. He wanted to find out what’s sleep like out of a laboratory, in the real world.
People who wanted to participate in the study gave a lot of information about themselves such as which medications they were on, how old they were, where they live in the world and what kind of education they had received. These are all factors that contribute to some of the results of the study. Basically, every piece of information is essential.
Approximately half of all participants of the study reported sleeping less than 6.3 hours a night, almost an hour less than the recommended amount of shuteye. However, an interesting fact was that participants who got less than 4 hours of shuteye performed better on cognitive tests. The amount of sleep affected all adult participants in the same manner, no matter their age.
After further research and testing, the scientists have concluded that the human brain performs best when it gets 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Conor Wild, study’s lead author, says that the revealing fact was that sleeping less or more than the recommended amount equally impairs your cognitive abilities.
Reasoning and verbal abilities were most affected by sleep. Short-term memory performance relatively remained the same. On the positive side, researchers found some evidence that even a single night of proper sleep can affect our ability to think. Those who slept a bit more than usual just one night before participating in the study did better on tests than individuals who got less or their usual amount of shuteye. However, constantly sleeping more than 7 to 8 hours impairs your cognitive functions and makes you feel drowsy, the same as when you sleep less than the recommended amount.