Sleep-Initiation Insomnia, Sleep Medication Use May Increase Dementia Risk

However, sleep-maintenance insomnia is tied to reduced dementia risk

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FRIDAY, March 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep-initiation insomnia and sleep medication usage may elevate dementia risk, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Roger Wong, Ph.D., and Margaret Anne Lovier, both from the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, examined how multiple longitudinal measures of sleep disturbances (sleep-initiation insomnia, sleep-maintenance insomnia, and sleep medication usage) are associated with dementia risk. The analysis included data from 6,284 participants (aged 65 years and older) in 10 annual waves (2011 to 2020) of the National Health and Aging Trends Study.

The researchers found that in an unadjusted analysis, sleep-initiation insomnia was significantly associated with increased dementia risk (hazard ratio, 1.51). Sleep medication usage was significantly associated with increased dementia risk when adjusting for sociodemographics (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.30). When further adjusting for health, sleep-maintenance insomnia was significantly associated with decreased dementia risk (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.60).

"Older adults are losing sleep over a wide variety of concerns. More research is needed to better understand its causes and manifestations and limit the long-term consequences. Our findings highlight the importance of considering sleep disturbance history when assessing the dementia risk profile for older adults," Wong said in a statement. "Future research is needed to examine other sleep disturbance measures using a national longitudinal sample, whether these sleep-dementia findings hold true for specific dementia subtypes, and how certain sociodemographic characteristics may interact with sleep disturbances to influence dementia risk."

Abstract/Full Text

Lori Solomon

Lori Solomon

Medically reviewed by Mark Arredondo, M.D.

Published on March 10, 2023

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