L’allenamento cognitivo migliora la qualità del sonno negli adulti anziani che soffrono d’insonnia


Iris Haimov, Evelyn Shatil


Study objectives: To investigate the effect of an eight-week, home-based, personalized, computerized cognitive training program on sleep quality and cognitive performance among older adults with insomnia.

Design: Participants (n = 51) were randomly allocated to a cognitive training group (n = 34) or to an active control group (n = 17). The participants in the cognitive training group completed an eight-week, home-based, personalized, computerized cognitive training program, while the participants in the active control group completed an eight-week, home-based program involving computerized tasks that do not engage high-level cognitive functioning. Before and after training, all participants’ sleep was monitored for one week by an actigraph and their cognitive performance was evaluated.

Setting: COMMUNITY SETTING: residential sleep/performance testing facility.

Participants: Fifty-one older adults with insomnia (aged 65-85).

Interventions: Eight weeks of computerized cognitive training for older adults with insomnia.

Results: Mixed models for repeated measures analysis showed between-group improvements for the cognitive training group on both sleep quality (sleep onset latency and sleep efficiency) and cognitive performance (avoiding distractions, working memory, visual memory, general memory and naming). Hierarchical linear regressions analysis in the cognitive training group indicated that improved visual scanning is associated with earlier advent of sleep, while improved naming is associated with the reduction in wake after sleep onset and with the reduction in number of awakenings. Likewise the results indicate that improved “avoiding distractions” is associated with an increase in the duration of sleep. Moreover, the results indicate that in the active control group cognitive decline observed in working memory is associated with an increase in the time required to fall asleep.

Conclusions: New learning is instrumental in promoting initiation and maintenance of sleep in older adults with insomnia. Lasting and personalized cognitive training is particularly indicated to generate the type of learning necessary for combined cognitive and sleep enhancements in this population.