To investigate interactions between high and low amounts of sleep and other predictors of cognitive performance.
We used four cognitive tests to determine whether sleep time interacted with age, personal history of a memory problem, parental history of a memory problem, or personal concerns about memory and were associated with cognitive performance. Data were collected from an internet-based cohort study. We used an ordinary least squares regression with restricted cubic splines, controlling for demographic variables and comorbidities.
We found significant nonlinear interactions between (1) total sleep time and age and (2) total sleep time and personal history of a memory problem and cognitive performance. Short and long sleep durations and self-reported memory complaints were associated with poorer performance on a test of attention and this was true to a greater degree in younger and older adults. A repeat analysis excluding subjects reporting dementia was significant only for the test of attention.
These results extend existing data on sleep duration and cognition across the lifespan by combining in a single study the results from four specific cognitive tests, both younger and older adults, and four self-reported risk factors for cognitive impairment. Longitudinal studies with biomarkers should be undertaken to determine whether causal mechanisms, such as inflammation or amyloid buildup, account for these associations.
Mohlenhoff BS, Insel PS, Mackin RS, Neylan TC, Flenniken D, Nosheny R, Richards A, Maruff P, Weiner MW. Total sleep time interacts with age to predict cognitive performance among adults. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(9):1587–1594.