Background: Patients with dementia report excessive daytime sleep/sleepiness, which is associated with worse cognitive performance. Inflammatory markers may be elevated in patients with dementia and have been proposed as mediators of sleep/sleepiness. Objective: To examine the association of objective daytime napping with cognitive performance and peripheral markers of inflammation in patients with dementia as compared to not cognitively impaired (NCI) controls. Methods: A sub-sample of 46 patients with mild-to-moderate dementia and 85 NCI controls, were recruited from a large, population-based cohort of 3,140 elders (≥60 years) in Crete, Greece. All participants underwent medical history/physical examination, extensive neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological evaluation, 3-day 24 h actigraphy and a single morning measure of IL-6 and TNFα plasma levels. Comparisons of sleep parameters and inflammation markers between diagnostic groups, and between nappers and non-nappers within each diagnostic group, were conducted using ANCOVA controlling for demographics/related clinical factors. Associations between inflammatory markers, sleep variables, and neuropsychological performance were assessed within each group using partial correlation analysis controlling for confounders. Results: Patients with dementia slept 15 minutes longer during the day than NCI. Within dementia patients, nappers had significantly worse performance on autobiographic memory (p = 0.002), working memory (p = 0.007), episodic memory (p = 0.010), and assessment of daily function (p = 0.012) than non-nappers. Finally, IL-6 levels were significantly associated with nap duration within dementia patients who napped (r = 0.500, p = 0.01). Conclusions: Daytime napping in patients with dementia is associated with worse cognitive performance and increased IL-6 levels. In dementia, objective daytime napping, may be a marker of the severity of the disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health