In a recent study from Rush University, researchers found there is a link between cognitive decline and excessive daytime napping.
The connection appears to occur in both directions: longer and more frequent napping was correlated with worse cognition after one year, and worse cognition was correlated with longer and more frequent naps after one year.
In the study, the researchers followed more than 1,400 patients for up to 14 years.
Participants wore a wrist-worn sensor that recorded activity continuously for up to 10 days and came in once a year for examinations and cognitive testing.
Any prolonged period of no activity during the daytime from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. was considered a nap.
When the study started, more than 75% of participants showed no signs of any cognitive impairment, 19.5% had mild cognitive impairment, and slightly more than 4% had Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
Daily napping increased by about 11 minutes per year among those who didn’t develop cognitive impairment during follow-up.
The team found naps doubled after a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, and nearly tripled after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
The team also compared participants who had normal cognition at the start of the study but developed Alzheimer’s disease dementia to their counterparts whose thinking remained stable during the study.
They found that older people who napped more than an hour a day had a 40% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The team stressed that the study does not imply that napping causes Alzheimer’s dementia or vice versa. The findings suggest that they unfold at the same time, and it’s possible that the same pathologies may contribute to both.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the accumulation of two proteins, amyloid beta, and tau, within the brain.
While the decline in cognitive function is the most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, this protein accumulation can occur in various locations of the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord, causing a variety of symptoms.
The study shows that increases in the frequency and duration of daytime napping may be one of those symptoms.
If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the cause of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease, and scientists find a new method to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about common food that could reduce vascular disease in the brain, and results showing medical cannabis could reduce some brain disorders.
The research is published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association and was conducted by Aron Buchman et al.
Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.