Poor sleep is tied to a higher risk of mental decline in older men, according to a new study. The study included more than 2,800 men, average age 76, in six locations across the United States. Sleep data was collected from the men through a wrist device for an average of five nights, and participants underwent tests to assess their attention and executive function.
Executive function includes planning, making decisions, correcting errors, troubleshooting and abstract thinking.
The researchers found that higher levels of poor sleep quality were associated with a 40 percent to 50 percent increased risk of significant decrease in executive function, similar in degree to the effect of a five-year increase in age.
“It was the quality of sleep that predicted future cognitive decline in this study, not the quantity,” lead author Terri Blackwell, senior statistician at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, said in a journal news release.