MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Longer time to fall asleep is associated with greater subsequent cognitive decline among middle-aged Hispanic adults, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Christian Agudelo, M.D., from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues used data from 1,035 adults (aged 45 to 64 years) participating in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos to evaluate the association between sleep patterns and cognitive decline. Cognitive function was evaluated at a seven-year interval.

The researchers found that longer sleep-onset latency was associated with declines in global cognitive function, verbal learning, and verbal memory. There was also a cross-sectional association seen between longer sleep-onset latency and verbal learning, verbal memory, and word fluency. The investigators did not observe an association between sleep fragmentation and cognitive change.

“Physicians need to be aware of sleep difficulties in the patients and suggest strategies for improvement,” Agudelo said in a statement. “For instance, going to sleep and waking up at the same times every day can lead to regular sleeping patterns.”

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