Slow-wave sleep and waking cognitive performance among older adults with and without insomnia complaints
ABSTRACT Previous research has shown that healthy young adults with relatively fast reaction times on daytime testing have significantly more nocturnal slow-wave sleep than do age-matched subjects with relatively slow reaction times on such testing. The current study was conducted to examine the relationship between slow-wave sleep and cognitive performance among older adults with and without insomnia complaints. A sample of 32 noncomplaining older (age > or = 60 years) normal sleepers and a like-aged sample of 32 insomniacs, recruited to participate in a larger study, served as subjects. All subjects underwent nocturnal sleep monitoring immediately prior to undergoing a battery of daytime tests that measured simple reaction time, vigilance/signal detection, and complex reaction time. Results from the normal sleepers showed no relationship between daytime cognitive performance measures and a variety of computer-derived nocturnal slow-wave sleep measures. In contrast, insomniac subjects with relatively slow reaction times showed relative deficits in a spectral analytically derived measure of slow-wave power in the 2 to 4 Hz bandwidth. These results suggest that relative performance deficits among some older insomniacs may be related to specific slow-wave sleep deficiencies. However, among older normal sleepers, intersubject differences in performance appear unrelated to slow-wave sleep measures. Additional research is needed to further explore the possible restorative role slow-wave sleep may serve for cognitive functions other than those examined herein.
- SourceAvailable from: Seung Ku Lee
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- "Psychomotor deficits related to insomnia and old age point to underlying brain processes, which may relate to the functioning of the prefrontal cortex. Previously, insomnia in older adults has been linked with performance deficits related to the prefrontal cortex, and namely, impairment in attention and psychomotor vigilance  . The prefrontal cortex has been highlighted as a brain region especially vulnerable to both sleep deprivation and aging  . "
ABSTRACT: The present study utilized a population-based sample investigating the following aims: (1) compare the longitudinal course of insomnia in middle-aged and older adults and (2) examine age-related differences on subjective complaint and objective performance in middle-aged and older adults based on the course of insomnia. 1657 middle-aged adults (48.16% male, mean age=55.35±4.03years) and 405 older adults (48.40% male, mean age=70.13±3.88years) from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES) were classified into 4 groups - no insomnia (NI), single episode insomnia (SEI), remitted persistent insomnia (PI-R), and ongoing persistent insomnia (PI-O) based on their course of insomnia over 5 time points spaced two years apart. Their performance on the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and subjective daytime sleepiness were compared across different insomnia groups, and the results were compared between middle-aged adults and older adults. Analysis of covariance indicated that subjective daytime sleepiness was significantly different across the insomnia groups in middle-aged adults based on insomnia group (P=<.0001), but, did not affect objective vigilance performance. In contrast, older adults displayed significantly different PVT response time, but not daytime sleepiness, based on insomnia group (P=0.03). Insomnia impacts psychomotor performance and subjective sleepiness differently, based on age group. There may be underlying processes associated with the aging that amplifies the impact of insomnia on vigilance performance, yet lessens perceived sleepiness in older adults.Journal of psychosomatic research 12/2013; 75(6):532-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.07.013 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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- "In an earlier study, Crenshaw and Edinger  investigated whether slow-wave sleep was related to performance on " simple reaction time " and vigilance tasks among older adults with normal sleep and those with insomnia. Older adults who were normal sleepers showed no relationship between cognitive performance and slow-wave sleep. "
ABSTRACT: Age-related cognitive impairments often include difficulty retrieving memories, particularly those that rely on executive control. In this paper we discuss the influence of the prefrontal cortex on memory retrieval, and the specific memory processes associated with the prefrontal cortex that decline in late adulthood. We conclude that preretrieval processes associated with preparation to make a memory judgment are impaired, leading to greater reliance on postretrieval processes. This is consistent with the view that impairments in executive control significantly contribute to deficits in controlled retrieval. Finally, we discuss age-related changes in sleep as a potential mechanism that contributes to deficiencies in executive control that are important for efficient retrieval. The sleep literature points to the importance of slow-wave sleep in restoration of prefrontal cortex function. Given that slow-wave sleep significantly declines with age, we hypothesize that age-related changes in slow-wave sleep could mediate age-related decline in executive control, manifesting a robust deficit in controlled memory retrieval processes. Interventions, like physical activity, that improve sleep could be effective methods to enhance controlled memory processes in late life.Neural Plasticity 08/2012; 2012:624795. DOI:10.1155/2012/624795 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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- "Under less controlled conditions, Altena et al. (2008b) showed that – compared to elderly controls without sleep complaints – elderly insomnia patients perform faster on a simple vigilance task but slower on a more complex vigilance task and interpreted this interaction effect in terms of the inverted U-shaped association between arousal and performance. Crenshaw and Edinger (1999) aimed to relate changes in psychomotor performance to brain activity during sleep and showed in elderly insomniacs, but not in elderly controls, a negative correlation of simple reaction times with the power in the sleep–EEG slow wave frequency band. In conclusion, the increased prevalence of insomnia in old age may contribute to the agerelated attenuated performance on reaction time tasks that appears to be most pronounced on more complex tasks. "
ABSTRACT: The cognitive changes that occur with ageing are usually referred to as 'age-related cognitive decline'. The most pronounced changes may be found in the executive functions that require integrity of the prefrontal cortical circuitry. With age, sleep also changes profoundly, with more sleep fragmentation, earlier awakenings and less slow wave sleep as its main features. Interestingly, experimental sleep deprivation studies in healthy young adults showed a particularly consistent effect on executive functions, suggesting that sleep problems might contribute to the cognitive changes accompanying older age. We here investigate this possibility by reviewing reports on age-related and insomnia-related changes in cognition and brain function and structure, as found in studies investigating subjective complaints, objective functioning in everyday life, neuropsychological assessment, psychometry, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, positron emission tomography and transcranial magnetic stimulation. The chapter focuses on the 'normal' age-related sleep changes that are experienced as insomnia - that is, fragmentation of sleep, more superficial sleep, more wake after sleep onset and earlier awakenings - rather than on specific sleep disturbances as sleep-disordered breathing, restless legs or periodic limb movements during sleep, for all of which the risk increases with age. It turned out that relatively few studies directly addressed the question whether elderly with different degrees of sleep complaints are differentially affected by 'age-related cognitive decline'. Still, several similarities between age-related and insomnia-related cognitive and brain changes are apparent, notably with respect to performance requiring integrity of the prefrontal cortical system. We suggest that at least part of what we regard as age-related changes may, in fact, be due to poor sleep, which is in some cases a treatable condition. Further research directly comparing aged good sleepers versus aged insomniacs will need to elucidate how sleep disturbances are involved in the cognitive, structural and functional changes observed with increasing age. The findings suggest that discrimination of subtypes of poor sleep at high age will aid in understanding the mechanisms by which it affects cognition and brain function.Progress in brain research 01/2010; 185:181-205. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-444-53702-7.00011-7 · 5.10 Impact Factor