The Connection Between Sleep Disruption and Alzheimer’s

The Connection Between Sleep Disruption and Alzheimer’s

New research conducted in the United Kingdom has shed some fresh information on how problems sleeping and Alzheimer’s may be connected. Doctors have been aware of how Alzheimer’s Disease patients suffer from various sleeping disorders for some time. In fact, issues with sleep have been considered a possible early symptom when confirming a diagnosis of the disease. But the cause has been unknown.

The newly discovered data suggests the normal internal biological cycle that regulates a human’s sleeping patterns is being disrupted by the presence of Alzheimer’s. In a healthy person, sleep is controlled by a this biological cycle. In Alzheimer’s patients though, the clock is somehow disconnected from the patient’s sleeping patterns, leaving them to suffer from disruptions in their ability to sleep regularly.

Previously, it was thought Alzheimer’s somehow destroyed this clock entirely. The new view is that Alzheimer’s is in fact causing the patient’s body to ignore the clock, which is what results in the sleeping disorders.

While sleep, much like Alzheimer’s, is not fully understood by modern medicine; doctors do know that sleep is important for a number of reasons. These include maintaining the brain’s ability to store, process, and efficiently recall information. Without sleep, this ability is significantly worsened. More studies are ongoing, and doctors involved in the research are hopeful this will be a next step in understanding Alzheimer’s better.

Key Points:

  • 1Sundowners disorder is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s patient, where they become agitated in the afternoon.
  • 2Alzheimer’s patients often have disrupted sleep patterns due to the disease.
  • 3They believe the link is due to the beta amyloid sheets which build up in the brain and cause problems with transmitting signals.


Researchers from the University of California Berkeley found evidence that sleep actually cleanses the brain and poor sleep or lack of sleep can build beta-amyloid which attacks the brain.
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