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World’s Largest Sleep Study Shows Too Much Shut-Eye Can Be Bad for Your Brain

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

A new study not only confirms that the “sweet spot” for sleep is seven to eight hours a night, but also that getting too much sleep can be just as bad for you as getting too little. Neuroscientists from Western University’s renowned Brain and Mind Institute published their findings in the journal SLEEP. With 40,000 participants around the world, the researchers determined that too much sleep can result in cognitive impairment as great as that experienced by those who slept too little, ScienceNews reports. Participants’ reasoning and verbal abilities were most affected.

Ah, sweet sleep! The thing is, no matter how many studies come out showing that, one more time, seven to eight hours a night of it is what every adult needs, many of us are still sleep-deprived, even when we’ve hit the sack and slept way beyond the so-called sweet spot. The clue, of course, is to find out how to make those hours we sleep become quality sleep once we doze off, so that seven or eight hours leaves us feeling refreshed.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep — which can make you feel groggy all day and feeling a need to make up for it in one big, long sleep after you’re just so tired you can’t go any longer — here are some helpful ideas. For one, research has shown that the more time you spend on electronic devices during the day, and especially at night, the longer it takes to fall asleep and get good sleep overall.

Therefore, make it a rule to turn off your computer or tablet and put away your smartphone at least one hour, and preferably two, before you go to bed. To get an even better time away from electronics, also turn off — or preferably disconnect — your WiFi so you’re not exposed to that when you sleep, either.

Next, prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep by refraining from eating at least three hours before bedtime. Sleep in a cool room that is no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure that the room is completely dark. Close the door, get rid of night lights, and install room-darkening curtains if necessary.

Also, try to position yourself so your body can totally relax and be more receptive to adequate deep sleep. If you frequently toss and turn during sleep, chances are you’re a side sleeper or stomach sleeper. For sound, healthy sleep, you need to sleep on your back in a neutral position with a pillow under your neck — not your head — to maintain proper spinal alignment.

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