Midlife Insomnia Manifests Cognitive Decline Later in Life
BY: Benny Chung
Jun 04, 2014

Everyone may have experienced one or two episodes of insomnia at some point in their life, but it certainly has a deeper meaning to older adults. Established by numerous previous studies, disturbances in both sleep quality and duration impair cognitive function of the group. Despite so, the onset of such cognitive deterioration may be traced back to working age, indicated by latest study findings. A Finnish study spent 17 years investigating the trajectories of insomnia symptoms in form of survey. At baseline, 40- to 60- year-old employees were recruited; they received follow-up survey every 5 years until 2017. The final analytic sample exclusively included those who had retired for either disability or reaching statutory retirement age, consisting of 3,748 persons aged 55-77 years. The study adopted a person-oriented approach to characterize the retirees into four trajectory groups according to when insomnia symptoms occurred with respect to retirement: stable low (good sleep), decreasing (insomnia symptoms before retirement age), increasing (insomnia symptoms after retirement), and stable high (insomnia symptoms persist into retirement). Findings suggested that people had experienced increased insomnia symptoms after retirement suffered from more severe deterioration in cognitive function. Besides, the existence of insomnia symptoms in working age can increase the risk of cognitive decline in retirement age. These results further indicate the potentiality of early intervention of insomnia for preventing cognitive decline in later years.



Etholén A, et al. J Aging Health. 2022;0(0):1-13.