Sleep Disruption Could Lead To Cognitive Decline Later in Life, Study Shows

In Education

A recent study suggests that uninterrupted sleep is crucial for middle-aged adults to reduce the risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals in their 30s and 40s who experience sleep disturbances may face memory challenges in their 40s and 50s, emphasizing the importance of addressing sleep issues early to prevent cognitive decline.

Alzheimer’s risk likely to increase in individuals with sleep disruption

The study emphasizes the importance of exploring the link between sleep and cognition in earlier stages of life to comprehend the role of sleep issues as a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. According to Yue Leng, PhD, the study author from the University of California-San Francisco, signs of Alzheimer’s may appear in the brain long before symptoms manifest. The research suggests that, in middle age, the quality of sleep is more crucial than the quantity for maintaining cognitive health.

The study published in the Neurology journal, conducted by the American Academy of Neurology, tracked 526 participants with an average age of 40 over an 11-year period. The participants, who slept an average of six hours, utilized wrist activity monitors for three days, twice a year apart, to determine their typical sleep patterns. Additionally, they kept a sleep diary, documented bedtimes and wake times, and filled out a sleep quality survey.

Sleep disruption leads to poor cognitive performance

The survey, ranging from zero to 21, revealed a correlation between higher scores and poorer sleep quality. Surprisingly, 46% of the 239 participants scored above five, indicating poor sleep. Participants also underwent memory and thinking tests. “Sleep fragmentation,” characterized by frequent brief interruptions, was identified as the most detrimental sleep disruption. Among the 175 participants experiencing significant sleep disruption, 44 showed poor cognitive performance a decade later, in contrast to only 10 out of 176 individuals with the least disrupted sleep.

Individuals experiencing significant sleep disruptions were found to be over twice as likely to demonstrate poor cognitive performance, even when accounting for factors such as age, gender, race, and education. Notably, no notable variances in cognitive performance were observed in midlife between the middle group and those with the least disrupted sleep.

Mobile Sliding Menu