What Sleep Characteristics Predict Cognitive Decline in the Elderly?

Sleep Med. 2012 Aug;13(7):886-92. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2012.02.003. Epub 2012 May 5.

Abstract

Background: Sleep is critical for optimal cognitive function, but as we age both cognitive impairment and sleep problems increase. Longitudinal, population-based studies can be used to investigate temporal relationships between sleep and cognition.

Methods: A total of 2012 cognitively unimpaired individuals 65 years and over were drawn from the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS). They answered self-reported measures including: insomnia symptoms and age of onset, night time wakings, snoring, sleep onset latency, napping, daytime sleepiness and duration of night time sleep. Cognition was measured via the Mini-Mental State Examination.

Results: It was found that daytime napping at baseline was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline at two and 10 years, and that obtaining ≤6.5h of night-time sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness at baseline were associated with an increased risk at 10 years.

Conclusions: Daytime napping, night-time sleep duration, and excessive daytime sleepiness may be modifiable behaviours open to intervention strategies, or, clinical indicators of future decline in older individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications