Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2002 Jun;9(1):9-13.

Alternation of Sleep Structure and Circadian Rhythm in Alzheimer's Disease

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul-Paik Hospital, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the most common and devastating dementing disorders of old age. Most AD patients showed significant alternation of sleep structure as well as cognitive deficit. Typical findings of sleep architecture in AD patients include lower sleep efficiency, higher stage 1 percentage, and greater frequency of arousals. The slowing of EEG activity is also noted. Abnormalities in REM sleep are of particular interest in AD because the cholinergic system is related to both REM sleep and AD. Several parameters representing REM sleep structure such as REM latency, the amount of REM sleep, and REM density are change in patients with AD. Especially, measurements of EEG slowing during tonic REM sleep can be used as an EEG maker for early detection of possible AD. In addition, a structural defect in the suprachiasmatic nucleus is suggested to cause various chronobiological alternations in AD. Most of alternations related to sleep make sleep disturbances common and disruptive symptoms of AD. In this article, the author reviewed the alternation of sleep structure and circadian rhythm in AD patients.


Alzheimer's disease; Sleep; Dementia; REM sleep

MeSH Terms

Alzheimer Disease*
Circadian Rhythm*
Sleep, REM
Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
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