Good Sleep Can Make You Feel Young

By   |  March 29, 2024

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter  |  Copyright © 2024 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

THURSDAY, March 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- A good night’s sleep can make you feel years younger, while crummy sleep leaves you doddering around like an oldster, a new study shows.

Sleeping well enough to feel extremely sharp when you wake is associated with feeling four years younger than one’s actual age, researchers found.

On the other hand, extreme sleepiness makes a person feel six years older than they really are, results show.

“This means that going from feeling alert to sleepy added a striking 10 years to how old one felt,” said researcher Leonie Balter, with Stockholm University's Department of Psychology.

For this study, researchers first surveyed 429 people ages 18 to 70 about how old they felt, how much sleep they get and how sleepy they felt.

The survey results showed that for each night a person had insufficient sleep, they felt about three months older than they actually were, on average.

Based on this, the researchers designed an experiment to test whether good sleep could make someone feel young and vibrant.

Previous research has shown that feeling younger than one’s actual age is associated with living a longer and healthier life, and there’s even evidence that people who feel young have younger brains, researchers said.

“Given that sleep is essential for brain function and overall well-being, we decided to test whether sleep holds any secrets to preserving a youthful sense of age,” Balter said.

The experiment involved 186 people ages 18 to 46. Participants were asked to restrict their sleep to just four hours in bed for two nights, and at another time asked to sleep nine hours in bed for two nights.

After a couple four-hour nights, participants felt 4.4 years older, on average, than they did when they got sufficient sleep, researchers report.

The new study was published March 27 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences.

“Safeguarding our sleep is crucial for maintaining a youthful feeling,” Balter concluded. “This, in turn, may promote a more active lifestyle and encourage behaviors that promote health, as both feeling young and alert are important for our motivation to be active.”

More information

The Sleep Foundation has more on the health benefits of sleep.

SOURCE: Stockholm University, news release, March 27, 2024