Do You Get “High-Quality” Sleep?

A new study involving 2,822 senior men, averaging 76 years old, confirms the link between sleep quality and the development of future cognitive decline.

The study, published in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep, was conducted by collecting sleep data from the participants through a wrist device for an average of five nights, and then administering tests that measure executive function, including planning, making decisions, correcting errors, troubleshooting, and abstract thinking. Results showed that “poor quality” sleep was associated with a 40% to 50% increase in the odds of clinically significant decline in executive function, which was similar to the effect of a five-year increase in age. In contrast, sleep duration was not related to subsequent cognitive decline.

“It was the quality of sleep that predicted future cognitive decline in this study, not the quantity,” said lead author Terri Blackwell, MA, senior statistician at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco. Poor quality sleep was determined by reduced sleep efficiency, greater nighttime wakefulness, greater number of long wake episodes, and poor self-reported sleep quality.

“With the rate of cognitive impairment increasing and the high prevalence of sleep problems in the elderly, it is important to determine prospective associations with sleep and cognitive decline.” Further research is needed to determine if this association remains after a longer follow-up period, the study authors said.

As you can see, and as you probably know from life experience, getting a good night’s sleep makes a huge difference. Besides a good night’s sleep, another important thing to do is to keep up with your planning while your mind is still sharp. If you have not done Incapacity Planning, Estate Planning, or Long-Term Care Planning, or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please contact The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. as soon as possible at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to schedule your appointment for an introductory consultation.

 

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