The relationship between Alzheimer’s and sleep is not well understood, but there does seem to be some noticeable patterns in sleep life for those affected by Alzheimer’s–primarily, an increase of sleep during the day but decreased sleep at night. It also seems that in some cases this sleep disturbance precedes other symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as memory loss.
Because researchers think Alzheimer’s causes cellular damage, it is reasonable that this also causes damage to the parts of the brain responsible for maintaining normal circadian rhythms and therefore causing disturbance in the sleep cycle of those affected. It also seems to affect melatonin production and the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a very small area of the brain responsible for our internal clock and sense of time.
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