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J Sleep Res. 2009 Dec;18(4):436-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2009.00765.x. Epub 2009 Aug 31.

Self-reported sleep duration and cognitive functioning in the general population.

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Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Turku, Finland.


This study investigated the relationship between self-reported sleep factors (sleep duration, insomnia, use of sleeping medicine, probable sleep apnoea and feelings of fatigue and tiredness) with cognitive functioning in 5177 people aged 30 years or older from a cross-sectional representative sample of the adult population in Finland (The Finnish Health 2000 Survey). Previous studies have indicated a U-shaped association between increased health risks and sleep duration; we hypothesized a U-shaped association between sleep duration and cognitive functioning. Objective cognitive functioning was assessed with tasks derived from the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease test battery (verbal fluency, encoding and retaining verbal material). Subjective cognitive functioning and sleep-related factors were assessed with questionnaires. Health status was assessed during a health interview. Depressive and alcohol use disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Medication was recorded during the health examination. Short and long sleep duration, tiredness and fatigue were found to be associated with both objectively assessed and self-reported decreased cognitive functioning. The association was stronger between sleep factors and subjective cognitive function than with objective cognitive tests. These data suggest that self-reported habitual short and long sleep duration reflect both realization of homeostatic sleep need and symptom formation in the context of the individual's health status.

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