Feel like you’ve aged overnight? You really might have! Restless sleep can make you feel a DECADE older, finds study

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Scientists say that restless sleep can make you feel up to 10 years older
  • Study ‘demonstrates sleep and sleepiness play a role in shaping sense of age’

Sometimes it just feels like you’ve aged overnight.

Now, a study has found that restless sleep really does make you feel up to 10 years older.

Researchers carried out two studies to determine whether sleep could impact how old someone feels.

First, they asked 429 participants to record their self-perceived age over 30 days, as well as how many nights they felt like they’d had insufficient sleep.

Analysis revealed for each additional day of insufficient sleep, subjective age increased by 0.23 years.

Sometimes it just feels like you’ve aged overnight. Now, a study has found that restless sleep really does make you feel up to 10 years older (stock image)

Then, 182 people were enrolled in a sleep restriction study, where they were only allowed four hours in bed per night over two nights.

This made people feel 4.44 years older compared to people who spent 9 hours in bed, the study showed.

Analysis also revealed that a transition from feeling extremely alert to feeling extremely sleepy was linked to feeling 10 years older in both studies.

The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

They wrote: ‘Many people feel younger than their calendar age.

‘While this phenomenon is less prevalent among younger individuals, as we venture our thirties and beyond the discrepancy between how old we are and how old we feel becomes more pronounced.

‘Emerging research suggests that our sleep habits may play a role in shaping how old we feel.

‘It turns out that feeling younger than our actual age is associated with living longer, better mental health and physical health, and more positive psychological traits.’

They said both of their studies ‘demonstrate that sleep and sleepiness play a profound role in shaping our sense of age’, and that ‘our perception of age is remarkably malleable’.

‘These discoveries open up new possibilities for fostering a youthful feeling’, they added.

‘Safeguarding sleep is likely a key factor for feeling young.’

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