Jesse L Parker, Andrew Vakulin, Ganesh R. Naik, Yohannes Adama Melaku, David Stevens, Gary A Wittert, Sean A Martin, Peter G Catcheside, Barbara Toson, Sarah L Appleton, Robert J Adams
Journal Journal of Sleep Research, Vol 33, No. 3, May 2024, Journal Ranking Q1, Impact Factor 4.4
Publication year: 2024


Previous prospective studies examining associations of obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture with future cognitive function recruited older participants, many demonstrating baseline cognitive impairment. This study examined obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture predictors of visual attention, processing speed, and executive function after 8 years among younger community-dwelling men. Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study participants (n = 477) underwent home-based polysomnography, with 157 completing Trail-Making Tests A and B and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Associations of obstructive sleep apnea (apnea–hypopnea index, oxygen desaturation index, and hypoxic burden index) and sleep macroarchitecture (sleep stage percentages and total sleep time) parameters with future cognitive function were examined using regression models adjusted for baseline demographic, biomedical, and behavioural factors, and cognitive task performance. The mean (standard deviation) age of the men at baseline was 58.9 (8.9) years, with severe obstructive sleep apnea (apnea–hypopnea index ≥30 events/h) in 9.6%. The median (interquartile range) follow-up was 8.3 (7.9–8.6) years. A minority of men (14.6%) were cognitively impaired at baseline (Mini-Mental State Examination score <28/30). A higher percentage of light sleep was associated with better Trail-Making Test A performance (B = −0.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.06, −0.01; p = 0.003), whereas higher mean oxygen saturation was associated with worse performance (B = 0.11, 95% CI 0.02, 0.19; p = 0.012). While obstructive sleep apnea and sleep macroarchitecture might predict cognitive decline, future studies should consider arousal events and non-routine hypoxaemia measures, which may show associations with cognitive decline.