Sleep more, they tell you. Everyone insists that’s the key to preserving your brain health. As if you could simply magically will yourself unconscious.
Easy for them to say. But in reality? Sleep typically feels like something you can barely control.
And trying to force yourself to get more shuteye can be so stressful that it backfires. And, ultimately, all that anxiety causes you to get LESS sleep.
Now, new research offers a way to stop stressing. Because it turns out you may not need as much sleep as you think.
In fact, researchers say you can get all the brain-protective power that comes with a full night’s sleep in as little as six and a half hours.
And if you find that even THAT is tough to pull off, I’ve got something else for you today. A simple solution that can help you get all the sleep you need without the stress.
Working out SLEEP WINDOW math
You know that old rule that you need to get eight hours of sleep a night? Toss it out the bedroom window. Because it’s nothing but a myth.
New research on sleep and brain health confirms a basic fact. There IS no one-size-fits-all formula for rest.
The study zeros in on one of the scariest health risks linked to poor sleep, especially in seniors. And that’s cognitive decline, which can eventually lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
And it puts the old rule of thumb about eight hours a night to bed for good. Because it finds there’s no SPECIFIC amount of time everyone needs to remain healthy and keep their brain firing on all cylinders.
Instead, the study reveals there’s a SLEEP WINDOW. And this window of opportunity for your best shot at perfect brain health opens up between 5.5 hours and 7.5 hours of sleep.
Sleeping LESS than that can cause your cognitive scores to plunge. Which means you’re at risk for dementia down the road.
No surprise there. But it turns out sleeping MORE than that is a problem too. It also can cause cognitive scores to fall and your future dementia risk to rise.
In other words, the so-called “perfect” eight hours a night could be perfectly dangerous for some folks.
Protect your brain with better slumber
Yes, you really can get too MUCH sleep. And while that may come as a shock to some folks, it’s not the first time we’ve seen these kinds of results.
Other studies have also found that too much sleep can be as bad for your health as too little. But in earlier research, the definitions of “too much” and “too little” have varied.
The new study helps clear the air by revealing that the right amount of sleep isn’t a single magic number. Instead, it’s a range.
And that suggests the real key isn’t just in HOW MUCH you sleep. It’s in HOW WELL you do. Because if you don’t feel rested, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve put in six, eight, or even 10 hours of sleep.
The bottom line is if you’re waking up groggy, you’re clearly not getting enough QUALITY zzzzs no matter how much time you spend in the sack.
For help falling asleep and staying asleep, the solution for many seniors can be as simple as a melatonin supplement. As we get older, our bodies make less of this natural “sleep hormone,” and the amount and quality of our sleep suffer as a result.
But a melatonin supplement can help pick up the slack and get you back on track.
Or, if you aren’t ready to commit to a supplement yet, you can try my method. Take your morning coffee or tea out on the porch and soak up as much of the early morning sun as you can.
This signals to your body that it’s time to slow down melatonin production. And as strange as it sounds, this can help increase melatonin levels at night by resetting your 24-hour circadian rhythms.
Plus, be sure to shut down all electronics and dim the lights around the house starting at least one hour before hitting the hay. This can help jumpstart your melatonin production in the evening.
Need a bit of extra help? This powerful sleep fix can help slip off to sleep faster and easier AND wake up feeling sharp and refreshed the next morning.
Also, keep in mind that waking up feeling unrested – even after a supposed “full” night of rest – could be a sign of sleep apnea. So be sure to speak to a doctor if you continue to feel tired.
Sleeping too much could also be a drug side effect, hormonal issue, or a symptom of an undiagnosed illness. So if you’re consistently feeling your sleep is “off” in either direction, speak to a naturopathic or integrative medicine doctor.
They can help figure out the cause of your poor sleep and the best way to fix the problem. So you can then find YOUR perfect sleep window.
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