While lack of proper sleep has been known to affect health, a new study has showed that people who sleep less or more than an average of seven to eight hours per night are more likely to develop impairment in their mental skills.
The findings showed that this effected adults equally.
The amount of sleep associated with highly functional cognitive behaviour was the same for everyone (seven to eight hours), regardless of age.
Also, the impairment associated with too little or too much sleep did not depend on the age of the participants, the researchers said.
“We found that the optimum amount of sleep to keep your brain performing its best is seven to eight hours every night and that corresponds to what the doctors will tell you need to keep your body in tip-top shape, as well,” said lead author Conor Wild, Research Associate at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
“We also found that people that slept more than that amount were equally impaired as those who slept too little,” Wild added.
For the study, published in the journal SLEEP, the team examined more than 40,000 participants.
Nearly half of all participants reported typically sleeping less than 6.3 hours per night, about an hour less than the study’s recommended amount.
Most participants who slept four hours or less performed as if they were almost nine years older.
Importantly, the participants’ reasoning and verbal abilities were two of the actions most strongly affected by sleep while short-term memory performance was relatively unaffected.
On the other hand, even a single night’s sleep can affect a person’s ability to think. Participants who slept more than usual the night before participating in the study performed better than those who slept their usual amount or less, the researchers said. (IANS)
They call her the “young miracle.” A baby who was admitted to an Ebola treatment center just six days after birth has now recovered from the virus.
Congo’s health ministry calls the baby the youngest survivor in what is now the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak.
The ministry late Thursday tweeted a photo of the infant, swaddled and with her tiny mouth open in yawn or squall, surrounded by caregivers who watched over her 24 hours a day for weeks.
The baby’s mother, who had Ebola, died in childbirth, the ministry said.
The infant was discharged Wednesday from the treatment center in Beni. “She went home in the arms of her father and her aunt,” the ministry said.
Experts have reported high numbers of children with Ebola in this outbreak, which Congo’s health ministry says has 515 cases, 467 of them confirmed, including 255 confirmed deaths.
The tiny survivor is named Benedicte. In video footage shared by UNICEF, she is shown in an isolated treatment area, cradled in the arms of health workers in protective gear or cuddled by Ebola survivors, called “nounous,” who can go without certain gear such as masks. The survivors are crucial with their reassuring presence, the health ministry said.
“This is my first child,” her father, Thomas, said. “I truly don’t want to lose her. She is my hope.” He gazed at his baby daughter through the clear protective plastic.
Children now account for more than one-third of all cases in this outbreak, UNICEF said earlier this week. One in 10 Ebola cases is in a child under 5 years old, it said, and children who contract the hemorrhagic fever are at greater risk of dying than adults.
While Ebola typically infects adults, as they are most likely to be exposed to the lethal virus, children have been known in some instances to catch the disease when they act as caregivers.
Few cases of Ebola in babies have historically been reported, but experts suspect transmission might happen via breast milk or close contact with infected parents. Ebola is typically spread by infected bodily fluids.
The World Health Organization also has noted that health centers have been identified as a source of Ebola transmission in this outbreak, with injections of medications “a notable cause.”
So far, more than 400 children have been left orphaned or unaccompanied in this outbreak as patients can spend weeks in treatment centers, UNICEF said. A kindergarten has opened next to one treatment center in Beni “to assist the youngest children whose parents are isolated” there, it said.
Health experts have said this Ebola outbreak, the 10th in Congo, is like no other as they face the threat of attack from armed groups and resistance from a wary population in a region that had never faced an Ebola outbreak before. Tracking suspected contacts of Ebola victims remains a challenge in areas controlled by rebels.