Although we do not know the causual relationship, we know that the more the AD progresses, the more we find sleep disorders. In the same way, the more sleep disorders there are, the more the disease progresses, forming a vicious circle. Taken this into account, sleep disturbances are no longer a symptom of AD and relationship between sleep disturbances and AD is bidirectional.
Interestingly, it has been shown that the sleep-wake cycle acts on the beta-amyloid burden which is a central component found in AD. Indeed, during waking, the production of beta-amyloid protein will be more consistent than during sleep. This is explained by two phenomena. The first is that the metabolic activity will be higher during waking and thus will secrete more beta-amyloid protein. The second is that oxidative stress will also be higher and lead to increased AB production.
Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep, often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder that is caused by repetitive collapse of the upper airway (back of the throat) during sleep. For the purposes of sleep studies, episodes of full upper airway collapse for at least ten seconds are called apneas
A population susceptible to the development of sleep disorders is people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because many researchers have focused on this issue, a systematic review was conducted to synthesize their findings. According to their results, TBI individuals are most disproportionately at risk for developing narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia. The study's complete findings can be found in the table below:
^ Jump up to: a b c Cao, Xiao-Lan; Wang, Shi-Bin; Zhong, Bao-Liang; Zhang, Ling; Ungvari, Gabor S.; Ng, Chee H.; Li, Lu; Chiu, Helen F. K.; Lok, Grace K. I. (2017-02-24). "The prevalence of insomnia in the general population in China: A meta-analysis". PLoS ONE. 12 (2): e0170772. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170772. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5325204. PMID 28234940.
Research suggests that hypnosis may be helpful in alleviating some types and manifestations of sleep disorders in some patients. "Acute and chronic insomnia often respond to relaxation and hypnotherapy approaches, along with sleep hygiene instructions." Hypnotherapy has also helped with nightmares and sleep terrors. There are several reports of successful use of hypnotherapy for parasomnias specifically for head and body rocking, bedwetting and sleepwalking.
^ Tranah, Gregory J.; Blackwell, Terri; Stone, Katie L.; Ancoli‐Israel, Sonia; Paudel, Misti L.; Ensrud, Kristine E.; Cauley, Jane A.; Redline, Susan; Hillier, Teresa A. (2011). "Circadian activity rhythms and risk of incident dementia and mild cognitive impairment in older women". Annals of Neurology. 70 (5): 722–732. doi:10.1002/ana.22468. ISSN 1531-8249.
Interestingly, the glymphatic cleanrance occurs during the NREM sleep, and more specifically the NREM SWS sleep. As seen previously, it is a sleep stage that decreases in normal aging. So there is less glymphatic clearance and an increase in AB burden that will form the AB plaques. Therefor, in AD sleep disturbances will amplify this phenomenon.
Although more research should be done to increase the reliability of this method of treatment, research suggests that music therapy can improve sleep quality in acute and chronic sleep disorders. In one particular study, participants (18 years or older) who had experienced acute or chronic sleep disorders were put in a randomly controlled trial and their sleep efficiency (overall time asleep) was observed. In order to assess sleep quality, researchers used subjective measures (i.e. questionnaires) and objective measures (i.e. polysomnography). The results of the study suggest that music therapy did improve sleep quality in subjects with acute or chronic sleep disorders, however only when tested subjectively. Although these results are not fully conclusive and more research should be conducted, it still provides evidence that music therapy can be an effective treatment for sleep disorders.
On the other hand, it is during sleep that beta-amyloid residues are degraded to prevent plaque formation. It is the glymphatic system that is responsible for this and this phenomenon is called glymphatic clearance. Thus, during wakefulness, the AB burden is greater because the metabolic activity and oxidative stress are higher and there is no degradation of the protein by the glymphatic clearance whereas during sleep, the burden will be smaller as there will be less metabolic activity and oxidative stress in addition to the glymphatic clearance that occurs at this time.
Narcolepsy is characterized by “sleep attacks” that occur during the day. This means that you will suddenly feel extremely tired and fall asleep without warning. The disorder can also cause sleep paralysis, which may make you physically unable to move right after waking up. Although narcolepsy may occur on its own, it is also associated with certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
Sleep disturbances have been also observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD), affecting about 45% of its population. Moreover, when it is based on caregiver reports this percentage is even higher, about 70%. As well as in PD population, insomnia and hypersomnia are frequently recognized in AD patients, which have been associated with accumulation of Beta-amyloid, circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSD) and melatonin alteration. Additionally, changes in sleep architecture are observed in AD too. Even though with ageing the sleep architecture seems to change naturally, in AD patients it is aggravated. SWS is potentially decreased (sometimes totally absent), spindles and the time spent in REM sleep are also reduced, while its latency is increased. The poorly sleep onset in AD has been also associated with dream-related hallucination, increased restlessness, wandering and agitation, that seem to be related with sundowning - a typical chronological phenomenon presented in the disease.