Changes in Cognitive Performance Are Associated With Changes in Sleep in Older Adults With Insomnia

Behav Sleep Med. 2016;14(3):295-310. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2014.1002034. Epub 2015 Aug 31.


The present study examined sleep features associated with cognition in older adults and examined whether sleep changes following insomnia treatment were associated with cognitive improvements. Polysomnography and cognition (recall, working memory, and reasoning) were assessed before and after an insomnia intervention (Brief Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia [BBTI] or information control [IC]) in 77 older adults with insomnia. Baseline wake-after-sleep-onset (WASO) was associated with recall. Greater NREM (nonrapid eye movement) delta power and lower NREM sigma power were associated with greater working memory and reasoning. The insomnia intervention did not improve performance. However, increased absolute delta power and decreased relative sigma power were associated with improved reasoning. Findings suggest that improvements in executive function may occur with changes in NREM architecture.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Thinking / physiology