It's complicated: The relationship between sleep and Alzheimer's disease in humans

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by an asymptomatic period of amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition as insoluble extracellular plaque, intracellular tau aggregation, neuronal and synaptic loss, and subsequent cognitive dysfunction and dementia. A growing public health crisis, the worldwide prevalence of AD is expected to rise from 46.8 million individuals affected in 2015 to 131.5 million in 2050. Sleep disturbances have been associated with increased future risk of AD. A bi-directional relationship is hypothesized between sleep and AD with sleep disturbances as either markers for AD pathology and/or a mechanism mediating increased risk of AD. In this review, the evidence in humans supporting this complex relationship between sleep and AD will be discussed as well as the therapeutic potential and challenges of treating sleep disturbances to prevent or delay the onset of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105031
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid-beta
  • Sleep
  • Tau


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