How much do you really need to sleep to rest well?

We continually listen in the media and actresses and models the hours we need to sleep to have a smooth and youthful skin and to live past 100 years. The general consensus are the eight hours, and surely more than once you have slept three hours and you have risen as tired as when you went over the line and slept eleven. How can it be and what are they really the indicated hours?

There is no possible discussion about how important a restful sleep is for our body. During sleep our body produces certain hormones that serve to grow or to fight different diseases, and the recommendations of theNational Sleep Foundation'They are quite clear: adequate sleep duration for adolescents is eight to ten hours per night, while it is seven to nine for adults (slightly older, seven to eight). Thus, The official recommendation is to rest seven hours or more per night, no matter what age group you are in.

Is it good to sleep 8 hours?

However, the results of a newly published neuroscience study are questioning this deep-rooted belief. The authors collected the sleep duration data of 613 participants over a total period of 28 years, between 1985 and 2013. The participants were classified into four different groups according to the duration of their sleep, which ranged from "five hours or less" to "eight hours", also going through six and seven. Each participant made a series of tests to evaluate his cognitive abilities, reports 'Psychology Today'.

The tests were very extensive and included a wide variety of cognitive habilyties, such as memory or reaction times. The researchers used an MRI scanner to evalue various aspects of brain structure which included everything related to the gray matter of the brain or areas that mainly contain neurons, the structure of the white matter or the neural connections between different regions Gray matter

The authors hypothesized that people who constantly slept at least seven hours a night would have more developed gray and white cognition and brain structure compared to those who they slept less than recommended. The results, however, were quite surprising.

There are no differences in cognition or in any of the parameters of the brain sleep five or eight hours, according to studies

On the one hand, they discovered that for most people the duration of sleep remained relatively stable. during the 28 years that the test lasted. About 12.7% of the participants slept eight hours, 45%, seven, 37%, six and only 4% slept five hours each night. Surprisingly, there was absolutely no difference in cognition or in any of the brain parameters between the different sleep duration groups. Therefore sleeping six or even five hours each night was not associated with any negative effect on the brain.

The authors suggest that it could be more significant also analyze sleep quality when assessing its impact on cognition and brain structure. In addition, this suggests that current sleep duration guidelines may need to be redesigned if other studies support their actions. It is good news if you suffer from insomnia and you tend to worry about revealing yourself during the night, because it is not the first time that you study something like that.

In the early 90s the psychiatrist Thomas Wehr He carried out an experiment in which he left a group of people in the dark for 14 days for a whole month. By the fourth week the individuals had acquired a very different pattern of sleep: they slept four hours and then woke up one or two before falling into another four-hour break. Scientists were quite surprised, reports 'BBC', although the myth of sleeping eight hours It has remained entrenched in society.

In the past, people used to share their dream in two sections. In the waking stage they went to the bathroom, smoked, read or prayed

In 2001 the historian Roger Ekirch published an article that revealed a huge amount of historical evidence that in thein ancient times humans used to sleep in two different time periods. It was based on references found in medical and literature books or court notes, from the Homer's Odyssey to anthropological reviews of modern tribes in Nigeria. During the waking period, people remained quite active. They often got up, went to the bathroom, smoked and some even visited the neighbors, also chose to stay in bed, read, write and prayed. References to the first and second dreams began to disappear at the end of the 17th century and already in 1920 they had disappeared completely of the collective imagination, according to the expert, thanks to the best in public lighting, the arrival of electricity and the proliferation of coffee rooms.

Therefore, although we hear continuously that eight hours are correct to keep us healthyThe truth is that a large number of researchers believe that many sleep problems have their roots in the preference of the human body to segment the body, as well as in the omnipresence of artificial light. Waking up at night is a normal part of the human psychology, and precisely the anxiety we feel when that happens is what does not allow us to rest properly. The next time you wake up in the middle of the night, then, think about your preindustrial ancestors and relax.

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