Quality over Quantity – New study reveals what really matters when it comes to sleep

Are you one of the elite sleepers?
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Frau schläft © jacoblund

Just before you go to sleep, you take a look at the clock and calculate how many hours are left until the alarm wakes you out of your dreams. Hopefully it will be at least 8 hours!

Does this sound familiar? Or are you one of those people who can start the day ready to go even after just a few hours of sleep, with no sign of sleep deprivation? A 2022 study by the University of California – San Francisco, looked at sleep quality and quantity and got to the bottom of the question of whether a smaller amount of sleep can even be good for your health, and if so, under what circumstances. Is it good news for everyone who doesn’t sleep much? We’ve summarized everything you need to know about what they found out.

No matter what kind of sleeper you are, you can count on our ZN:MG capsules. These supplements support your body every day and help reduce fatigue and improve your concentration*.

Are you one of the elite sleepers?

There are people who start the day ready to go after just 4-6 hours of sleep. And they do it regularly. In this study, they’re called elite sleepers. Maybe you’re one of them, or maybe you just shake your head in disbelief at the thought of 4 hours of sleep and barely stifle a yawn.

According to the research team, elite sleepers are able to pack the health benefits of sleep into a much smaller, more efficient amount of time, which is why they can start the day rested after 4-6 hours. And that’s far from everything they can do. They also appear to have a higher level of physiological resilience and resistance to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Of course, if you’re not an elite sleeper, there are still things you can do to wake up energized in the morning. These 8 tips will help you get some restful sleep, no matter how long it is.

A Question of Genes

Whether you’re an elite sleeper or a “more sleep”-er, neurologist Louis Ptacek, one of the study’s lead authors, says the amount of sleep a person needs depends on their genetics. He says the amount of sleep needed is kind of like a person’s height: “There’s no perfect amount of height, each person is different. We’ve shown that the case is similar for sleep.”

Starting the day fit and fully functional after just a few hours of sleep can run in the family. That ability so many of us would love to have is also called familial natural short sleep (FNSS). For more than 10 years, Ptacek and his co-senior author Ying-Hui Fu, PhD, have been studying people with FNSS. So far they have identified 5 genes that play important roles in this process, but also emphasize that many more remain to be found.

Sleep as Protection Against Disease

It’s generally believed that not sleeping a lot is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Fu’s new study investigates a hypothesis that runs counter to this assumption: High quality, “elite” sleep may act as a protective shield for the body, counteracting neurodegenerative diseases. It hypothesizes that, in people with FNSS, the brain can complete its tasks effectively in less time while asleep, which is why no sleep deprivation occurs despite reduced sleep duration.

By the way, your immune system is also a protective shield for your body, and you can support it with a healthy and balanced diet. Our Daily Vitamins cover your daily vitamin requirements**, providing you with healthy fruits and vegetables in convenient capsule form.

To investigate this hypothesis, mice were studied whose genes were predisposed to both short sleep duration and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found that the brains of those mice produced fewer cells that are characteristic of the neurodegenerative disease.

According to Fu, high-quality sleep could also provide protection against other brain diseases. While more research is still to come, it’s important that you get restful sleep right now as well. How can Peanut Butter help you sleep better? Click here to find out!

More healthy living tips from foodspring:

*Magnesium contributes to a reduction in tiredness and exhaustion.

** Vitamin D supports the normal functioning of the immune system. Vitamin B12 supports the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Sources for this article

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