Potential Alzheimer’s Risk with Increased Daytime Napping

Recent research on older adults suggests that excessive daytime napping might be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly when it occurs concurrently with other warning signs like memory loss. Many individuals routinely enjoy afternoon naps. Short naps can refresh one’s energy and enhance productivity, but napping for extended periods often results in feeling lethargic and more tired than before

While there remains ongoing debate regarding the ideal nap length for health benefits, numerous studies advocate for keeping naps under 30 minutes to optimize their positive effects and avoid the drawbacks of longer sleep periods. The research found that longer naps were connected to cognitive deterioration in elderly men, while naps under 30 minutes did not increase the risk of cognitive issues.

The 14-year study involving 1,401 participants revealed that while all adults tended to nap more as they aged, those with progressing Alzheimer’s disease experienced a doubling in both the length and frequency of their daytime naps. While napping by itself is not a direct cause of Alzheimer’s, excessive napping could be a risk factor, potentially increasing the likelihood of developing the condition without necessarily confirming it will occur.

In line with earlier research, it was found that extended naps negatively impacted cognitive function, though the exact cause is unknown. Furthermore, such cognitive decline is frequently seen as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Daytime sleep patterns in older adults are often overlooked, and there is a lack of consensus on the management of napping in clinical practice. The study’s findings suggest that frequent daytime napping could indicate a higher risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. Additionally, an increase in napping duration each year may signal worsening or more severe progression of the disease.

The study revealed that both the length and frequency of naps increased with age, and there was a reciprocal, long-term link between daytime sleep and Alzheimer’s. Researchers aim to highlight the significance of monitoring changes in daytime sleep habits, as these alterations are crucial for understanding shifts in brain function related to circadian rhythms, cognitive decline, and dementia risk.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Daytime napping and Alzheimer’s dementia: A potential bidirectional relationship