Sleep and cognition in older adults: Does depression matter? An actigraphy and polysomnography study

  • Alix Mellor 1. University of Western Australia, Perth 2. Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth
  • Romola S. Bucks University of Western Australia, Perth
  • Jennifer Maul Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth
  • Katherine A. Sanders University of Western Australia, Perth
  • Helen McGowan North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth
  • Flavie Waters 1. University of Western Australia, Perth; 2. Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth; 3. North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

Abstract

The impact of sleep on cognition is well recognised, although research in older adults is lacking, as are investigations into how depression might impact on this relationship. This study assessed the relationship between sleep (assessed with actigraphy and polysomnography) and cognitive performance in older adults (50–78 years) with (n = 10) and without (n = 33) a current diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). There were associations between sleep-wake patterns and cognition across the whole sample: time spent awake after sleep onset (WASO) was associated with speed of responding on vigilance tasks and accuracy on delayed recall tasks; sleep efficiency and total sleep time (at trend-level) were linked to working memory accuracy. Examination of the impact of depression on the relationship between sleep and cognition was explored using moderation analysis. Current depression was a significant moderator of the relationship between sleep-wake patterns (assessed with actigraphy), but not sleep architecture (assessed with PSG), and cognition. That is, there was a different pattern of association of sleep-wake patterns and cognitive performance depending on depression status. Specifically, in the MDD group, sleep-wake patterns were linked to speed of processing on cognitive tasks, whereas in the not currently depressed group, sleep-wake patterns were linked to performance accuracy. In conclusion, it was found that depression impacted on the relationship between sleep and cognition but questions remain regarding the nature of the relationship between sleep and cognition in older adults. Given that sleep problems are potentially modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment, these findings point to the importance of assessing sleep in both depressed and healthy older adults.

Author Biographies

Alix Mellor, 1. University of Western Australia, Perth 2. Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

1     School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth

2     Clinical Research Center, Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

Corresponding address: Ph: +61 3 9905 5912, Present address: Monash University 1/270 Ferntree Gully Road Notting Hill Victoria 3168, Australia

Romola S. Bucks, University of Western Australia, Perth

School of Psychology

Jennifer Maul, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth

Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine

Katherine A. Sanders, University of Western Australia, Perth

School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology

Helen McGowan, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

Older Adult Clinical Research Unit

Flavie Waters, 1. University of Western Australia, Perth; 2. Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth; 3. North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

1     School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth

2     Clinical Research Center, Graylands Hospital, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

3     Older Adult Clinical Research Unit, North Metropolitan Mental Health, Perth

Published
2018-01-15
How to Cite
MELLOR, Alix et al. Sleep and cognition in older adults: Does depression matter? An actigraphy and polysomnography study. Archives of Psychology, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 1, jan. 2018. ISSN 2573-7902. Available at: <http://archivesofpsychology.org/index.php/aop/article/view/38>. Date accessed: 21 feb. 2018.

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