Changes in Sleep Duration May Impair Cognitive Function

Lower scores seen in middle-aged adults with adverse sleep changes

FRIDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse changes in sleep duration -- too little or too much sleep -- in middle-aged people may have a detrimental effect on their cognitive function, according to research published in the May 1 issue of SLEEP.

To evaluate the impact that changes in sleep duration have on cognitive function, Jane E. Ferrie, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues examined sleep-duration data from 1997 to 1999 and 2002 to 2004 for 5,431 subjects aged 45 to 69 at baseline.

The authors found that adverse changes in sleep duration, defined as a decrease from six, seven, or eight hours or an increase from seven or eight hours, were associated with lower scores on most cognitive function tests. The magnitude of these cognitive declines was equivalent to an increase in age of four to seven years.

"Further research is needed to corroborate these findings in the general population, preferably in studies sufficient in size to examine the detriment associated with each hour of change in sleep duration. In addition, further work is needed to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie these associations," the authors write.

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