A researcher from the University of California has found that individuals in their thirties and forties who experience sleep problems may have issues with memory and thinking a decade later. The study, published in the journal Neurology, shows that those with interrupted sleep were more than twice as likely to perform poorly on cognitive tasks as compared to those with uninterrupted sleep.
The quality of sleep appears to be a key factor for cognitive health in middle age. Assistant professor Yue Leng emphasizes this point, highlighting that the signs of Alzheimer’s disease begin to accumulate in the brain several decades before symptoms appear. This underscores the importance of prioritizing good sleep habits for brain health.
The study involved 526 participants with an average age of 40 years, who were evaluated based on both the duration and quality of their sleep, as well as subsequent memory and thinking tasks. It was found that those who had the most interrupted sleep were indeed more likely to perform poorly on cognitive tasks a decade later. However, it is important to note that the amount of sleep and subjects’ own sleep estimates were not related to information processing problems in middle age. Additionally, due to the limitation of a small number of subjects in the study, researchers were unable to draw proper conclusions about differences between genders or ethnic groups.