Is too much sleep bad?

I absolutely love sleep, and to be fair, who the heck doesn’t? It’s like a temporary escape from reality in which all worries and stressors are forgotten.

That being said, too much sleep can, unfortunately, be rather bad.

A Eurekalert article describes how results from the world’s greatest sleep study suggest that folks who sleep between seven and eight hours each night, on average, have better cognitive performance than folks who sleep less, or more, than this amount.

Neuroscientists from the University of Western’s Brain and Mind Institute made the findings of their research available to the public in their journal titled SLEEP.

In June of last year, the world’s largest sleep study was initiated with over 40,000 people from around the world participating in an online scientific investigation. Participants filled out a questionnaire and engaged in cognitive performance exercises.

About half of the study participants claimed that they slept for less than 6.3 hours each night, however, a majority of participants who slept for four hours or less performed “as if they were almost nine years older” in the cognitive exercises.

Study results also showed that sleep impacts all adults equally, and further that people who slept for more than seven to eight hours every night “were equally impaired as those who slept too little,” said Conor Wild, Owen Lab research associate and the study’s lead author.

As for the two functions that were the most impacted by sleep? Reasoning and verbal abilities. Short-term memory abilities proved to be pretty well unaffected by the amount of sleep obtained.

Results also suggested that one night’s sleep can seriously impact a person’s ability to think the next day, with people who snagged more sleep on a given evening performing better the following day, compared to how they perform when they sleep for their typical duration.

Cool stuff.

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