Cognitive function impairment linked to obstructive sleep apnea

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Data from five population studies suggest that better sleep may help protect cognitive function in adults. Image credit: ismagilov/Getty Images.
  • A new analysis looking at data from five population-based studies delved deeper into the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea, lack of sufficient sleep, and cognitive function.
  • The analysis found that preventing obstructive sleep apnea — when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep — and better sleep consolidation was linked to better cognitive function in the participants.
  • By contrast, shorter sleep duration was linked with impaired attention and other cognitive issues.

In adults without dementia, sleep consolidation and the absence of obstructive sleep apnea could be important for optimizing cognition with aging, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers looked at data from five population-based studies across the United States with at least 5 years of follow-up. Studies were overnight sleep studies with neuropsychological assessments. They analyzed the data between March 2020 and June 2023.

The scientists looked at sleep studies specific to sleep consolidation and sleep apnea and their association with the risk of dementia and related cognitive and brain function.

The study included 5,945 adults without any history or presence of stroke or dementia.

The researchers found that better sleep consolidation and the absence of obstructive sleep apnea are associated with higher cognitive function, and short sleep duration was associated with poorer attention and processing speed.

Consolidated sleep refers to sleep that is continuous and uninterrupted by night awakenings.

Health">Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of a collapse of the airway, which can decrease oxygen and result in fragmented and nonrestorative sleep.

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