A recent study investigated whether sleep problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, reports Medical News Bulletin.

Are those afternoon naps that we all enjoy, well more so as we get older, resulting in harmful consequences? An association between aging and an increase in daytime sleepiness exists but the inability to remain awake all day has been linked to cognitive decline in the elderly. Additionally, several studies have provided evidence of an association between excessive daytime sleepiness and an increased risk of dementia. Previous studies suggest that individuals with sleep problems have a 1.68 times greater risk of developing cognitive dysfunction or Alzheimer’s.

The underlying mechanisms which link excessive daytime sleepiness and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s remain unclear. Understanding the potential mechanisms causing sleeping problems in preclinical Alzheimer’s has important clinical implications for developing early interventions to help reduce the disease progression.