Do We Really Need The Sleep We Deserve?

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Most of us (here at the office included!) think that the length of our sleep time is what determines who well-rested and energized we’ll be upon waking up.

But looks like researchers are begging to differ! First off, they argue that the quality, not the quantity, of your sleep is what makes you perform better for the next day’s tasks.

Researchers from Fitbit’s (yes, that  Fitbit) FIT Research found that people who slept an average of between 5 hours and 50 minutes and 6 hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night performed better on the fitness device company’s Think Fast cognitive test than people who slept more or less.

Obviously, the durations mentioned are shorter than the typical eight to ten hours we’ve all grown up reading about

Fitbit researchers compared how much people slept to their scores on Think Fast, a cognitive test Fitbit includes on its app.

Researchers found people who slept an average of between 5 hours and 50 minutes and 6 hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night performed better on the test than people who slept more or less.

But FIT researcher Jonathan Charlesworth said these figures were just averages, as sleep quality can vary per person especially when you factor in age, gender, any medical conditions, and surprisingly, if they stay in bed not to sleep, but to use their electronic devices like laptops and phones.

For age, the research found that men and women over the age of 40 have to spend lesser time awake at night in order to increase their cognitive performance by at least 10 percent.

But those between the ages of 20 and 40 were found to still perform well cognitively as there was no correlation yet between the age, the amount of deep sleep people in that age category were getting, and their cognitive performance.

But 20-somethings everywhere, don’t let that get your hopes up too much that you can power through another all-nighter.

Charleston adds that as with most things, it’s better to start when you are young so that you won’t have too much complications when you’re older.

“This [finding]suggests that if people can maintain a high sleep quality as they get older, we may be able to slow [cognitive]decline by a significant amount,” Charlesworth said.

The Fitbit watches identify their users’ sleep through heart rate and motion, and while it has shown it was able to accurately determine sleep stages; it isn’t entirely accurate since it doesn’t monitor brain waves.

The company collected data from more than 3 billion nights of logged sleep for this research, and Yahoo reported that it plans to use the findings to “send users personalized insights so they can improve their sleep,” Charlesworth said.

These improvement aids included sending users tips, like removing their phone from the bedroom to avoid distractions.

 

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