Insomnia can cause future problems with cognitive abilities and memory

According to the study, there is a clear association between prolonged symptoms of insomnia and a subsequent decrease in cognitive activity.

Long-term symptoms of insomnia can lead to impaired cognitive performance in retirement.

The University of Helsinki The Helsinki Health Study assessed the development of insomnia symptoms in middle age and their impact on memory, learning ability and concentration after retirement. The observation period was 15-17 years.

According to the study, long-term symptoms of insomnia and subsequent deterioration of cognitive functioning have a clear association.

“The findings show that severe insomnia symptoms were associated with impaired cognitive function among those who were legally retired,” says Dr. Anti Etolen, describing the results of the study.

The study also found that when insomnia symptoms lasted longer, memory impairment, learning disabilities and attention problems worsened. The study was published in Journal of Aging and Health.

Sleeps well in middle age

Previous research has shown that there are a number of mechanisms that can explain how sleep can affect cognitive function. What makes a recently published study exceptional is the long period of observation of insomnia symptoms.

Among other things, the study found that as the symptoms of insomnia decreased over the years, cognitive functioning was also better in retirement compared to the problems that persisted.

According to researchers, prolonged symptoms of insomnia should be considered risk factors for poor cognitive functioning.

“Based on our results, early intervention to combat the symptoms of insomnia or measures to improve sleep quality will be warranted,” says Professor Theo Lalucca.

There are many ways to improve sleep quality, including regular sleep patterns, appropriate temperature, and the brightness of the sleeping environment, as well as optimal time for exercise, coffee consumption, and food intake.

However, Lalucca believes that intervention studies are still needed to find out the effects of measures to support good sleep.

“In subsequent studies, it would be interesting to shed additional light on, for example, whether treating insomnia can also slow the development of memory disorders,” Lalucca says. She emphasizes that only self-reported memory symptoms can be considered in this study.

Background: “The Trajectory of Insomnia Symptoms Among Aging Employees and Their Relationship to Memory, Learning Ability, and Concentration After Retirement — A Prospective Cohort Study” Anti Etalen, MD, Olli Pietillainen, MD, Anne Mirsonen, Phil Philo , Doctor of Philosophy Axis Rahkonen, Doctor of Science and Theo Lalucca, Doctor of Science, April 28, 2022, Journal of Aging and Health.
DOI: 10.1177% 2F08982643221078740 Insomnia can cause future problems with cognitive abilities and memory

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