THURSDAY, June 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Severe insomnia symptoms in midlife are associated with worse cognitive function in retired individuals, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of Aging and Health.

Antti Etholén, M.D., from University of Helsinki, and colleagues examined sleep trajectories that explain memory, concentration, and learning ability problems after retirement. The analysis included survey responses from four phases of the Helsinki Health Study (2000 to 2017; 3,748 participants aged 55 to 77 years; 80 percent female).

The researchers identified three latent group trajectories of insomnia-related symptoms: stable low, decreasing, and increasing. A stable high group was seen among those who had retired for disability reasons. There was an association observed between insomnia symptoms and worse cognitive function, particularly with severe and long-term insomnia.

“Based on our findings, early intervention tackling insomnia symptoms, or measures aimed at improving the quality of sleep would be justified,” a coauthor said in a statement. “In subsequent studies, it would be interesting to shed further light on, for example, whether the treatment of insomnia can also slow down the development of memory disorders.”

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