Subjective sleep problems in later life as predictors of cognitive decline. Report from the Maastricht Ageing Study (MAAS)

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002 Jan;17(1):73-7. doi: 10.1002/gps.529.


Background: Although biological sleep criteria seem to be associated with cognitive changes in older people, it is not clear if subjective sleep parameters are related to cognitive decline in later life.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine whether subjective sleep complaints in a population-based sample of 838 middle aged and older adults (>or= 50 years) predicted cognitive decline over a period of 3 years.

Methods: Sleep complaints at baseline, assessed with the subscale Sleep Problems of the Symptoms Checklist-90, were used as a predictor variable. Cognitive performance at follow-up, measured with the Mini Mental Status Examination, was employed as a dependent variable.

Results: Controlling for the effects of age, gender, length of follow-up interval, systemic diseases, and cognitive function at baseline, subjective sleep complaints were negatively associated with cognitive performance at follow-up.

Conclusion: Subjective sleep complaints predict cognitive decline in middle aged and older adults. Mechanisms behind the effect of subjective sleep complaints on cognitive performance are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology