Napping could be a marker for cognitive decline


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research has identified a link between napping and cognitive decline in older people, with the authors suggesting napping might be useful as an early marker of cognitive impairment. 

In recent years, there has been growing evidence that napping is linked with a number of adverse health outcomes in older adults, but little is known about the effects of napping on cognitive health in people without dementia. As part of this latest study, researchers examined the association between actigraphy-assessed napping, cognitive decline and risk of developing clinically significant cognitive impairment in 2,751 men aged 65 years and older. 

Overall, participants had a mean napping duration of 40.2 minutes. At follow-up after 12 years, and after excluding 121 cases developed within two years of baseline, the authors identified 320 (12%) cases of clinically significant cognitive impairment. Men with a napping duration of at least 120 minutes at the baseline were 66 per cent more likely to develop cognitive impairment compared with those who napped for less than 30 minutes (odds ratio [OR] 1.66; 95% CI 1.09-2.54). The authors noted the association between napping and cognitive impairment was more pronounced among those with higher sleep efficiency and average sleep duration.

The findings are published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia