With summer approaching and the nights getting warmer it can become harder to find the perfect 'sweet spot'. However, according to a recent study published in the journal Brain, people who have found their sleep 'sweet spot' - the ideal amount of sleep your body requires - appear to delay cognitive decline and keep their brains sharp.
The study monitored the sleep of 100 older adults who were tested for cognitive decline and evidence of early Alzheimer's disease and found that only those who slept six to eight hours retained stable cognitive functioning.
Sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington knows the importance of finding your sleep ‘sweet spot’, and explains the best way to find it.
"If after eight hours of sleep, you feel tired and lack energy and motivation during the day chances are that you are not getting the quantity or quality of sleep you require," she tells us.
“If this is you, try going to bed an hour earlier or sleeping in an extra hour if possible. You may be surprised by how much of a difference just an extra hour of sleep can make.”
"The 'ideal' eight hours of sleep may be enough for some people, but not for others."
Top tips for getting a good night’s sleep
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes per day (a walk at lunchtime is good)
- Not have caffeine after midday
- Refrain from alcohol
- Not sleep during the day (a nap of 20 minutes is ok)
- Eat only a small meal at night and especially no big meal within 3 hours of bedtime.
- Refrain from exercise within 3 hours of bedtime (this will alert the body)