Previous research has already shown that children who suffer from insomnia have a higher risk of developing anxiety and other mental health problems. But a new study from the University of Helsinki suggests that the condition can be devastating to older consumers too.
Researchers found that consumers who developed insomnia in midlife experienced problems with their memory, concentration, and ability to learn. These problems persisted well into later life, affecting participants even after they had retired.
"The findings indicate that severe insomnia symptoms were associated with worse cognitive function among those who were on statutory pension," said researcher Antti Etholén.
Symptoms worsen with prolonged insomnia
The researchers found that study participants who experienced insomnia symptoms over longer periods of time had the worst cognitive outcomes. However, the team noted that mental function improved by retirement age if symptoms eased over the years.
The team stated that there are several ways for consumers to improve their chances of getting a good night's sleep, including adjusting the temperature and brightness of the sleeping area. Adjusting factors like coffee consumption, diet, and exercise can also help.
"Based on our findings, early intervention tackling insomnia symptoms, or measures aimed at improving the quality of sleep would be justified," said researcher and professor Tea Lallukka.
The researchers hope to continue researching this subject by investigating whether the treatment of insomnia could help slow down the development of memory disorders. The full study has been published in the Journal of Aging and Health.