FRIDAY, March 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Excessive daytime napping predicts an increased future risk of Alzheimer dementia, and a diagnosis of Alzheimer dementia increases daytime napping during aging, according to a study published online March 17 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Peng Li, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used data from 1,401 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project to assess the relationship between daytime napping and cognitive aging over 14 years of follow-up.

The researchers found that older adults tended to nap longer and more frequently with aging, while the progression of Alzheimer dementia accelerated this change by more than doubling the annual increases in nap duration/frequency. There was an association noted between longer and more frequent daytime naps with higher risk of Alzheimer dementia. Longer or more frequent daytime napping was correlated with worse cognition a year later, while conversely, worse cognition was correlated with more excessive naps a year later.

“Daytime sleep behaviors of older adults are oftentimes ignored, and a consensus for daytime napping in clinical practice and health care is still lacking,” Li said in a statement. “Our results not only suggest that excessive daytime napping may signal an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s dementia, but they also show that faster yearly increase in daytime napping may be a sign of deteriorating or unfavored clinical progression of the disease. Our study calls for a closer attention to 24-hour sleep patterns — not only nighttime sleep but also daytime sleep — for health monitoring in older adults.”

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