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CogniFit evaluates cognitive differences between healthy older adults and those with insomnia

CogniFit assessments are a reliable tool for detecting cognitive status in healthy older adults with insomnia.

  • Conveniently manage research participants from the researchers' platform

  • Evaluate and train up to 23 cognitive skills in your study participants

  • Check and compare the data of the participants' cognitive evolution of your study.

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Original Name: Chronic Insomnia and Cognitive Functioning Among Older Adults.

Authors: Iris Haimov1, Einat Hanuka1, Yael Horowitz2.

  • 1. Department of Behavioral Science, Max Stern Academic College of Emek, Yezreel, Israel.
  • 2. Department of Learning Disabilities, University of Haifa, Israel.

Journal: Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 6:32-54,2008.

References to this article (APA style):

  • Haimov, I., Hanuka, E., & Horowitz, Y. (2008). Chronic Insomnia and Cognitive Functioning Among Older Adults. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 6, 32-54.

Study Conclusion

CogniFit's cognitive assessment tool allows you to accurately assess cognitive differences between healthy older adults and those with insomnia. Memory Span [t(97)=2.77, p<.007], in integration of two-dimensional tasks (visual and semantic) [t(97)=2.03, p<.049], in reaction time of sustained attention [F(1, 392)=12.35, p<.0001], in time estimation [t(97)=2.42, p<.017], and in executive functioning [t(96)=2.02, p<.045].


Seniors are more likely to suffer insomnia (2%-50%). In this group, although there are certain factors that predispose to this sleep disorder (such as retirement, mourning, social isolation or disability), insomnia is usually due to different causes: primary, medical, psychiatric, drug-related. In addition, there is a high co-morbidity with other disorders. Seniors tend to find greater difficulty falling asleep, greater activation during sleep, changes in sleep stages, more arousals, less sleep time and rest.

Aging itself is associated with poorer cognitive functioning. This normally affects cognitive abilities that are highly relevant to everyday life, such as attention, inhibition, and memory. In fact, the prevalence of severe cognitive impairment in the older population is 4% to 10%.

Chronic insomnia in old age has a significant negative impact on the quality of life and increases cardiovascular risk. Given the close relationship between sleep and cognitive abilities, it is important to know the relationships between chronic insomnia in old age and cognitive functioning in seniors.



A total of 99 independent seniors (36 men and 63 women), with an average of 72.3 years of age , participated in the study. Participants with a major medical condition, taking medication affecting the nervous system, having a history of psychiatric disorders, having dementia or depression were excluded from the study.

In order to consider a participant has insomnia, the following criteria were followed: (a) taking at least 31 minutes to fall asleep , (b) happens at least 3 nights a week , (c) during at least 6 months . This was evaluated through the Mini Sleep Questionnaire and the Technion Sleep Questionnaire. Depending on their responses, users were divided into two groups: seniors with insomnia (N=35, mean age=73.7, SD=5.7) and seniors without insomnia (N=64, mean age=71.6, SD=5.7).

Each participant's cognitive status was measured individually using CogniFit's online cognitive assessment and training tool.

CogniFit Evaluation: Researchers Platform

CogniFit allows you to accurately measure the state of up to 23 cognitive abilities through 24 assessment activities. It should be noted that the information obtained during the assessment can then be used to personalize and guide future cognitive stimulation training.

CogniFit is a cognitive assessment and training tool prepared to conduct research and to stimulate participants' cognitive abilities.

  • Being online and available in 19 languages, it is very accessible.
  • CogniFit measures the execution automatically in each task and processes the data autonomously, thereby detecting the strengths and weaknesses of each participant.
  • The CogniFit tool is validated by a variety of scientific studies . This makes it a reliable tool for assessing the cognitive state of participants.

Thanks to CogniFit's research platform we can conveniently manage data carried out with this tool. To create a free account just follow the steps. This account allows researchers:

  • Invite and adjust participants' activities , as well as the tests to be applied to measure and/or train their cognitive functions.
  • Collect data from participants, being able to see the state and cognitive evolution.
  • Conduct experimental studies on the effects of cognitive stimulation through computer programs.
  • Design research totrain general or specific cognitive areas .
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When we are logged in, we can purchase evaluation, training or both licenses. The CogniFit tool has 9 different evaluations and 15 different training programs.

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CogniFit's two main products help measure and train all the cognitive skills that need work with broad scientific support :

  • Assessments: Through 24 different tasks we can assess more than 20 cognitive skills accurately. This allows us to create a complete profile of the participant's current cognitive status. The most extensive evaluation is the Cognitive Assessment Battery (CAB), but CogniFit also offers more specific assessment batteries: Insomnia, Depression, Parkinson, ADHD and more. At the beginning of each task, the participant will receive an interactive instruction of what to do.
  • Training Programs: With more than 30 training games , it is possible to stimulate all the cognitive skills that we train in CogniFit. The personalized brain training allows us to strengthen our cognitive capacities in an entertaining and comfortable way, although CogniFit also has more specific trainings, such as specific training for insomnia. The games include an interactive tutorial so that participants can easily. Each training session, which consists of three activities, lasts approximately 15-20 minutes. In addition, the tool automatically adapts the difficulty of the activities to the level of the participants. We will also have the option of indicating the number of hours we want each participant to rest between one training session and another.

When we have chosen the evaluations and training program that we are interested in, we can invite our participants, assign them to a group and to activities that they will have to do . Participants will receive an invitation in their email and will only have to create an account as a normal user and accept that the researchers can see their results.

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From our researcher's account, we will be able to monitor our participants' activity, see their profiles or cognitive evolution and export the study data . We will also have access to different data:

  • The state of the five cognitive areas in which the other cognitive skills are included.
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  • The individual state of each of the cognitive abilities.
CogniFit- Cognitive abilities Image
  • A graph with the general evolution of the cognitive state of the participant, or of each one of the cognitive capacities in an independent way.
CogniFit- Cognitive evolution image


In order to work with the data, analysis of variance (ANOVA) with a bidirectional mixed design was applied, using the group as a variable between-factors and the reaction time as an intra-subject variable. A t of Student was applied for independent samples, in order to compare the differences between the participants with insomnia and the healthy ones. Finally, a Chi-square test was used as a non-parametric test.

Results y conclusions

Both groups were found to be similar in age, gender, years of education, depression score, physical health status, consumption of sleeping pills and computer skills. There were also no differences in total sleep duration, although there were significant differences in sleep efficiency, awakenings and the time it took them to fall asleep. Regarding cognitive state, significant differences were detected between insomnia users and healthy users in memory span [t(97)=2.77, p<.007], in integration of two-dimensional tasks (visual and semantic) [t(97)=2.03, p<.049], in sustained attention reaction time [F(1, 392)=12.35, p<.0001], in time estimate [t(97)=2.42, p<.017], and in executive functioning [t(96)=2.02, p<.045].

The results indicate that chronic insomnia in senior adults is associated with impaired cognitive performance . In fact, healthy seniors performed better on almost all cognitive aspects measured than seniors with insomnia. This difference was especially noticeable in the memory span, in the integration of two-dimensional tasks (visual and semantic), in directing attention to a goal, in time estimation and in executive functioning (planning).

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