Napping Linked With Dementia And Having Dementia Also Linked With More Frequent Naps
18 March 2022
Scientists in the US have suggested that those who nap more frequently when they get older are more likely to get dementia, but those who have dementia are more likely to nap.
Daytime napping was classed as sleeping for periods at any time between the hours of 9:00 and 19:00. This was based on sleep activity measured on a wristwatch.
Read the full paper Daytime napping and Alzheimers dementia: A potential bidirectional relationship in Alzheimers & Dementia.
Many People Don’t Realize The Connection Between Dementia And Sleep Behavior
Dr. Yue Leng, co-senior author and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California explained in a statement, “We found the association between excessive daytime napping and dementia remained after adjusting for nighttime quantity and quality of sleep.” The new research re-confirms the results of a former study Leng performed, where the risk of cognitive decline was found to increase with napping two hours each day when compared with taking a snooze for less than 1/2 an hour.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic in the Center for Brain Health at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, who was uninvolved in the study, explained via CNN, “Excessive napping may be one of the many clues that a person could be on the road to cognitive decline, and trigger an in-person evaluation with a treating physician.” Isaacson continued, “Further studies are warranted with devices that are validated to detect sleep versus sedentary behavior. But at the same time, being sedentary and not moving for long periods of time is a known risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Regardless of the reason, falling asleep during the day or excessive napping raises my antenna to focus on whether the person may be at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline.”
Certain Symptoms Of Dementia Are More Subtle Than Others
Many people may not know to look out for certain possible symptoms of dementia, because they’re subtle and less commonly known. While napping during the day is considered a way to refresh your energyand is even thought to have multiple health benefits, including a decrease in stroke riskexcessive napping is also linked to an increased risk of dementia. “A new study found that daytime naps were associated with an increased risk of dementia,” noted Everyday Health in 2022. “Older adults in the study were 40 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease when they napped daily or snoozed for more than an hour on nap days, the study found.”
Lead author of the study Peng Li, PhD, told the The Harvard Gazette that the study’s results also found that continued, increased daytime napping “may be a sign of deteriorating or unfavored clinical progression of the disease.”
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New Study Finds Shocking Link Between Daytime Napping And Dementia
One of the comfiest things to do on a cozy afternoon is to cuddle up on the sofa with a big, warm blanket, and take a nap. Even better if you have a fireplace nearby. Many elderly folks include napping as part of their overall daily health regimenmost especially if they don’t sleep well at night. Well, according to a new study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, daytime napping and dementia are more closely connected than researchers thought. The study reveals enjoying a consistent tradition of daytime napping for long periods of time may increase your risk of developing dementia.
Read on to learn more about the shocking link between daytime napping and dementia. And next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Daily Napping Among Older Adults Linked To A 40% Higher Risk For Alzheimers Disease
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Older adults who nap for more than an hour a day had a 40% higher risk for developing Alzheimers disease compared with those who napped less than an hour a day, researchers reported in Alzheimers & Dementia.
In addition, those who napped at least once a day had a 40% higher risk for developing AD compared with those who did not nap once a day, Yue Leng, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco Weill Institute for Neurosciences, and colleagues reported. They evaluated the longitudinal relationship between daytime napping and cognitive aging.
We found the association between excessive daytime napping and dementia remained after adjusting for nighttime quantity and quality of sleep, Leng, co-senior author of the study, said in a UCSF press release. This suggested that the role of daytime napping is important itself and is independent of nighttime sleep.
Leng and colleagues assessed 1,401 participants, who had a median age of 81 years, through the Rush Memory and Aging Project at the Rush Alzheimers Disease Center in Chicago. The center monitored participants for up to 14 years.
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Alzheimer’s Disease Can Cause A Wide Range Of Symptoms
When Alzheimer’s or other types of cognitive decline occur, changes are taking place in the brain. Tens of billions of neuronsor cellscommunicate information to different parts of the body, explains the National Institute on Aging , and the disease impacts them: “Alzheimer’s disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.”
The possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s are wide-ranging because so many areas of the brain may be affected by the disease, thus causing damage to numerous abilities such as memory, language, muscle strength, and social engagement, says the NIA. As this brain damage occurs, “a person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses his or her ability to live and function independently.”ae0fcc31ae342fd3a1346ebb1f342fcb
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Sleep Is Good For The Brain But What About Napping Research Raises Puzzling Questions
Sleep is good for you, no question. It can boost memory, problem-solving, and mood, and failure to get enough can have dire consequences, from depression to fatal accidents. Some workplaces have even set up nap rooms to encourage the midday snoozes thought to increase productivity.
But can there be too much of a good thing? New research is raising questions about the role of napping in the development of dementia, suggesting that excessive daytime sleeping among older adults may signal or might even cause neurological changes.
A recent study looked at the relationship between napping and Alzheimers disease over 14 years. Researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital, the Rush Alzheimers Disease Center, and the University of California San Francisco, found that the progression of Alzheimers disease led to more napping, and also that people who napped a lot were at higher risk of developing Alzheimers.
Among the participants who had no symptoms of cognitive impairment at the outset of the study, those who took longer or more frequent naps were more likely to later be diagnosed with Alzheimers.
But recent studies suggest a much more complex interaction. Poor sleep leads to worse cognitive performance and a higher risk of dementia. So its not just that Alzheimers wrecks sleep. Sleep deprivationoften precedes Alzheimers, and might contribute to its development.
Alas naps, too, have been linked to poor health outcomes, including dementia.
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Naps Became Longer And More Frequent In Peoplewith Alzheimers As Disease Progressed Especiallyafter The Diseases Symptoms Had Appeared
The study had some limitations, including that because participants were all older, findings may not necessarily translate to younger people.
The findings dont indicate that naps are necessarily detrimental to brain health, and again, copious past research has found that healthy sleep is good for the brain. However, in future studies, the team wants to explore whether the correlation would hold true if napping during the day was decreased. In other words, they want to look at whether napping less during the day could have a positive affect on brain health, or even lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Co-senior author Kun Hu, of the Medical Biodynamics Program in the Brighams Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, said that regardless, the team hopes these findings will bring new attention and energy to Alzheimers research around sleep patterns.
Our hope is to draw more attention to daytime sleep patterns and the importance of patients noting if their sleep schedule is changing over time, Hu said. Sleep changes are critical in shaping the internal changes in the brain related to the circadian clocks, cognitive decline, and the risk of dementia.
Napping Tied To Brain Changes
Key to identifying the relationship was the use of “objective measurement” of sleep via actigraphy, Peng Li, PhD, of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.
However, he emphasized that the technique is “something we need to further develop,” inasmuch as it is “not really a standardized measurement for sleep.” The gold standard, he added, remains polysomnography.
However, he added, polysomnography is impractical, especially for older patients, and is “very expensive,” Li said. Actigraphy offers a means of objectively measuring sleep “in a large cohort” and is a good “compromise.”
Li noted that the bidirectional relationship they found was “partially expected from what we understand from the literature,” but the longitudinal nature of the study was able to “prove” that it is bidirectional and that napping and cognition “drive each other in a circular manner.”
However, said Li, the open question is whether sleep is “causally related to the development of Alzheimer’s, and we are not there yet” in terms of answering it.
The current evidence, however, suggests that longer and more frequent daytime napping might be a “symptom of some of the changes that are related to Alzheimer’s” development.
The researchers note that excessive daytime napping has been observed “especially” in older adults with AD, and excessive daytime sleepiness has been linked to “faster cognitive decline.”
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Memory Loss Is A Well
Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating condition that many associate with memory loss and confusion. “One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. “Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things they used to handle on their own.”
But approximately 40 percent of people experience some amount of memory loss after the age of 65 as part of the process of aging, reports the Alzheimer’s Society. This type of normal, age-related memory loss should not disrupt your daily life, or limit your ability to complete routine tasks.
Daytime Napping May Be An Early Symptom Of Alzheimer’s
As with other symptoms of Alzheimer’s, extreme daytime napping in dementia patients is due to damaged brain cells. “Areas of the brain that keep you awake during the day are damaged in the early stages of the memory-robbing disease, which is why people with Alzheimer’s may nap excessively long before they start to struggle with forgetting things,” WebMD explains.
Just as being aware of the early warning signs of cognitive decline is crucial, preventative methods may also be effectiveand it’s never too late to put these healthy lifestyle choices on your to-do list.
These activities include participating in brain-stimulating activities learning new skills eating a healthy diet and getting physical exercise and making sure to maintain social interaction with others, Gregory Day, MD, explained to the Mayo Clinic. If you’re concerned about any signs of cognitive decline, “reach out to your primary care provider or a neurologist for additional guidance,” he advises.
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So What Does This Mean For Fans Of Napping
But isn’t this contradictory to everything we’ve ever learned, that napping is beneficial to elderly adults? Well, don’t dismiss the goodness of some napping.
Another recent study published in General Psychiatry studied 2,214 older Chinese individuals by way of cognitive testing. The individuals were broken into two groups, nap takers and non-nap takers. It was concluded that adults who nap in the afternoon show improved mental agility when compared to adults who don’t nap.
So if you’re a nap lover, it’s really important to take all of this into consideration. You may not want to stop napping altogether, but it may be wise to consider limiting the amount of time that you doze off during the day.
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More About The Circadian Clock And Study Details
Humans and other living organisms possess inner biological, or circadian clocks that generate circadian rhythms on a 24-hour basis. These rhythms, or biological patterns, are sensitive to light and other parts of our environment, and they help drive physical, mental, and behavioral changes over a 24-hour day-night cycle. Among other things, circadian rhythms strongly influence our autonomic nervous system a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as heart rate and blood supply to the brain.
For long its been known that a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease often comes on the heels of years of sleep disturbances, and people with dementia are more likely to wake up during the night and struggle to return to sleep. Plus, conditions that disrupt sleep, such as sleep apnea, are more common in people diagnosed with AD. Its still not clear, however, whether the disease disturbs sleep first or if changes to sleep quantity and quality can contribute to the development of AD.
Most research that assesses the effects of sleep on cognition focuses on nighttime sleep, and the studies that do examine daytime nappings contributions to the development of dementia have relied on the reports of participants over a short time. In contrast, our study calls for a closer attention to 24-hour sleep patterns not only nighttime sleep but also daytime sleep for health monitoring in older adults, Dr. Li told the Gazette.
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Excessive Daytime Napping Later In Life May Be Related With Developing Alzheimer Dementia
Alzheimer disease dementia may share common pathophysiological mechanisms or be bidirectionally related with excessive daytime napping, according to results of a study published in Alzheimers & Dementia.
This analysis used data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, which is an ongoing, prospective, observational cohort study that began in 1997. Yearly, participants have been assessed by a battery of neuropsychological and cognitive testing.
Since 2005, participants were given a watch-like Actical device which monitors motor activity. Sleeping between 9 am and 7 pm, detected by the Actical device, was defined as daytime napping. Engaging in daytime napping was related with progression of AD dementia.
The study population comprised 76.6% women, aged mean 81.42±7.47 years, with 15.04±3.02 years of education, they slept for 5.69±1.45 hours per night, took a median of 1.80 naps per day, napping on average for 46.60 minutes per day.
Nap frequency and duration were positively correlated and age was positively correlated with nap frequency and duration .
Among the subset of individuals with sufficient actigraphy data , 812 had no cognitive impairment at baseline and went on to develop mild cognitive impairment or AD dementia , 209 had MCI at baseline with 101 developing AD dementia, and 44 had AD dementia at baseline.
The results of this study may not be generalizable to a younger population of individuals as these data were sourced from an older population.
Alzheimers And Daytime Napping Linked In New Research
Longer and more frequent napping was correlated with worse cognition
Could there be a link between cognitive decline and excessive daytime napping? New research from the Rush Alzheimers Disease Center suggests a potential connection, according to an article published in Alzheimers and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimers Association in March.
The connection appears to occur in both directions, researchers say 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.
Aron Buchman, MD, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center and co-author of the article, said the study lends evidence to the changing views of Alzheimers disease as a purely cognitive disorder.
We now know that the pathology related to cognitive decline can cause other changes in function, he said. Its really a multi-system disorder, also including difficulty sleeping, changes in movement, changes in body composition, depression symptoms, behavioral changes, etc.
Researchers followed more than 1,400 patients for up to 14 years as part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Religious Order Study. 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.
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This Research Followed Older Individuals Over A 14
The research, which was led by UC San Francisco and Harvard Medical School along with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “its teaching affiliate,” found that dementia may impact parts of your brain by way of your wake-stimulating neurons. The project followed 1,401 older individuals ranging from 74 to 88 years of age, who had been studied for a 14-year period by Rush Memory and Aging Project at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.
The individuals observed wore a device that recorded their activeness. Each non-active time tracked between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. was considered a nap. The participants wore the watch-like contraption for as long as two weeks.
Annually, each individual was given a series of neuropsychological exams to test their cognition. At the beginning of the research, 75.7% of those studied had no cognitive deterioration, 19.5% of them had mild cognitive deterioration, and 4.1% had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.