According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, people who experience sleep problems in their thirties and forties may face issues with memory and thinking as early as ten years later. The research found that those who have interrupted sleep are more than twice as likely to perform poorly on cognitive tasks, even after controlling for the quantity of sleep.
Assistant professor Yue Leng emphasizes the importance of sleep for brain health, explaining that the signs of Alzheimer’s disease can accumulate in the brain decades before symptoms appear. The quality of sleep, rather than the quantity, seems to be the key factor for maintaining cognitive health in middle age.
The study included 526 participants with an average age of 40 years old. Both the duration and quality of their sleep were taken into account, along with subsequent memory and thinking tasks. It was found that those with interrupted sleep performed significantly worse on these tasks a decade later, regardless of how much or little they slept. However, it is important to note that there were limitations to the study due to a small number of subjects from diverse backgrounds.