Recent study shows greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults with insomnia.
In older adults, dementia is also typically associated with sleep disorders. Epidemiological evidence shows an association between sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies reported that prolonged sleep duration and excessive daytime sleepiness were also associated with risk of developing cognitive decline.
The study assessed the relationship between insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease in 346 cognitively normal older adults evaluated during multiple visits over 7.7 years of follow-up.
Participants were drawn from a larger pool of 655 normal volunteers (aged 24–96) participating in brain aging studies at New York University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. People selected for study had had a minimum of three examinations, with at least two during the normal stages of cognition.
Insomnia associated with incident Alzheimer’s disease
Sleep and wake changes that occur during normal aging could increase the risk of cognitive decline after a certain age by increasing Aβ production, and this risk could be greater in older subjects with chronic insomnia. Excessive daytime sleepiness has also been related to Alzheimer’s disease. This could portray hypersomnia as an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease in a similar way that some depressive symptoms may be early manifestations of dementia.
Insomnia could be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease similar to lifetime recurrent major depression.
It’s important to maintain normal sleep cycle and despite the notion that sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, some natural sleep aids could help.